The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has been informed by negotiators in Brussels that she will have to submit indefinitely to the rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on pensions, employment and welfare rights of European citizens in the UK. Granting lifelong rights to European citizens and their families would be contrary to Mrs. May’s former pledge to end the ECJ’s power over the UK after the country has formally left the EU. Under the ECJ rules, European citizens would be entitled to bring relatives and non-Europeans to the UK, with the same rights existing for UK nationals who currently reside in other EU member states. The new President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said that this was a redline issue for the EU and failure to grant ECJ powers over the UK would result in no deal being struck between the UK and EU. As former Home Secretary, Theresa May had been very critical of ECJ rulings which, she argues, helps migrants abuse free movement through the use of sham marriages. The EU has toughened its stance on this issue over recent days and has put this at the top of the agenda when negotiations substantially begin in late June “agreeing reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the Union will be the first priority for the negotiations”. Provided Mrs. May wins the upcoming general election in June, which she is expected to do so comfortably according to latest polls, this would leave the UK government and EU significantly divided at the first hurdle of negotiation.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest to your inbox.