05:50 GMT +323 September 2019
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    An EU flag flies above Parliament Square during a Unite for Europe march, in London, Britain.

    EU Parliament Brexit Negotiator Calls UK Offer on EU Citizens 'Damp Squib'

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    The European Parliament will never approve a Brexit "damp squib" deal harming the rights of the European citizens in the United Kingdom, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Verhofstadt stressed that the European Parliament would not support any extension to the Brexit negotiations deadline of March 30, 2019.

    "[European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel] Barnier wants British people and Europeans to keep the same rights and the same level of protection they currently enjoy under European law… The UK response came three weeks later. It was a damp squib, proposing that Europeans obtain the status of 'third-country nationals' in the UK, with fewer rights than British citizens are offered throughout the EU… The European parliament will reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens, regardless of their nationality, less favourably than they are at present," Verhofstadt wrote in an open letter published by The Guardian newspaper on Sunday.

    In late June, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced London's plans regarding the rights of EU nationals living in the country after Brexit. According to the proposals, no EU citizens currently living in the United Kingdom lawfully will be asked to leave after Brexit and London would create conditions for "qualifying EU citizens resident here before our exit" and would modernize the corresponding administrative procedures.

    One of the important issues in the negotiation is whether the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should be allowed to oversee the rights of the EU citizens, who are living in the United Kingdom, after the latter's withdrawal from the bloc. May opposed the bloc's position that those rights should be upheld by the European Court of Justice, saying they will be subject to UK law.

    Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union officially kicked off on June 19.


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