This afternoon, Theresa May delivered a “landmark” speech in Italy confirming she wants a 2 year transition period with no change to current market access or rules. Speaking ahead of Brexit talks which are due to resume on Monday, May thanked European nationals living in the UK for their contribution and promised that their rights will be protected and they could “carry on” living their lives as before.
The PM indicated that freedom of movement would continue during the transition period but workers coming into the UK from the EU would be required to go through a “registration system” an “essential preparation for the new regime.”
The PM’s 35 minute speech has not gone down so well with many questioning the point of delivering another vague speech. It is unlikely that European citizens in the UK will be able to “carry on” living their lives as before. Given the government’s continued commitment to reduce net migration levels, we cannot see how EU nationals will have the same rights as they do now.
The PM also reiterated that the government remains committed to protecting the Belfast Agreement and the Common Travel Area and Britain will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border.
Following the speech, Matthew O’Toole, who was Number 10’s chief Brexit spokesman until recently, told Politico that “prolonged vagueness” over the government’s Brexit strategy has damaged Britain’s credibility in the negotiations.
Negotiations are due to resume on Monday but so far, no agreement has been reached on the issues of the rights of EU and UK citizens, the financial settlement or the Irish border issue.