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The Editors

How to Clear the First Brexit Hurdle

Britain and the EU don’t need to fall out over treatment of each other’s citizens.
Britain and Europe: speaking the same language?

Britain and Europe: speaking the same language?

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

The first task for the Brexit negotiators is to agree on the rights of European Union citizens in Britain, and of U.K. citizens in the EU. In a rational world, this would be straightforward. In the real world, it will be a problem if one side or the other chooses to make it one.

Roughly 3.2 million EU citizens live in Britain, and 1.2 million U.K. citizens live in Europe. Brexit casts doubt on their residency status and future rights, including access to health care and other services. The fairest and least disruptive solution is reciprocity: EU citizens in the U.K. and U.K. citizens in the EU should have the same rights.