On April 29 2017 the 27 EU countries together approved recommended negotiating guidelines for the Brexit negotiations. The guidelines are the best news that we have had since the referendum. They state that the first priority in the negotiations should be safeguarding the status and rights of EU citizens and their families in the UK, and of UK citizens and their families in the EU at the withdrawal date.
They go on to provide detailed recommendations which we think would give us, and family members who join us, the same rights as we enjoy at present.
The coalition of British groups in the EU (which includes British in Italy) has asked for clarification of a few parts of the guidelines.
Their main defect is that they say, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. The coalition has asked the EU to agree to ring-fence any agreement that is made on citizens’ rights so that we are not left as bargaining chips in a dispute about the UK’s bill or some frontier dispute.
The openness with which the EU has treated us is hugely different to the way our own Government views its citizens abroad. Whilst the EU has published its proposals in detail, the UK has said nothing beyond bland generalities.
Whilst the EU saw representatives of affected EU and UK citizens before Article 50 was even triggered, the UK had to be pushed into meeting us and only did so very late in the day, saying nothing either publicly or clearly about its proposals. Even now when the EU’s position is clear, it has failed to say what it intends for us.