Brussels: British Prime Minister Theresa May’s offer to give EU citizens in the UK “settled status” after Brexit has been described as being “far short of what citizens are entitled to”, the media reported on Monday.
In a joint letter to the media, Members of the European Parliament (MEP) termed the proposal a “damp squib”, reports the BBC.
It offers Europeans in the UK fewer rights than Britons in the European Union, the letter said.
EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years would be granted access to health, education and other benefits.
But May’s proposals would be dependent on EU states guaranteeing Britons the same rights.
The leaders of the four political groups who have signed the joint letter account for two-thirds of the votes in the European Parliament, the BBC reported.
Their letter points out that they have the power to reject any Brexit deal before it can go ahead because Parliament must approve the withdrawal agreement.
They said the UK proposal “falls short” because it would take away rights citizens currently have, and create new red tape and uncertainty for millions of people.
European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt told the BBC that EU citizens in the UK – and Britons living on the continent – should keep their current rights, rather than the government “inventing a new status”.
“It creates a type of second class citizenship for European Citizens in the UK… We don’t see why their rights should be diminished and that would be the case in the proposal.
“In the end, it is the European Parliament that will say yes or no, and I can tell you it not will be a yes if the rights of European citizens – and also the rights of UK citizens living on the continent – will be diminished (and) cut off, like it is at the moment,” he added.