Draft transition guidelines from Brussels say the UK should keep free movement rules until 2021
BRITAIN may be forced to accept new migrants from the EU even after Brexit, it emerged last night – as Brussels chiefs launched a new bid to stop us leaving.
New negotiating guidelines from the EU suggest that European citizens must be allowed to settle in the UK during the post-Brexit transition period.
That means Britain wouldn’t regain control over migration policy until 2021 – enraging Brexit backers who are keen to forge an independent path.
The draft rules were compiled by European leaders for Michel Barnier, who is leading the Brexit trade negotiations.
It would see all EU citizens able to live and work in Britain, and claim UK benefits, as long as they arrive before the end of 2020.
Ministers are keen to introduce new migration laws from the moment we officially quit the EU in March 2019.
The new rules will not apply to Europeans who moved here before the exit date – they will be allowed to stay in Britain for ever.
The terms of the transition, which is intended to help business adapt to life outside the EU, are due to be agreed in the next two months.
But today the EU’s top two leaders issued an extraordinary plea for Britain to reverse Brexit altogether and stay in the bloc.
EU Council chief Donald Tusk said the EU’s “hearts are still open” to a British return and quoted Brexit Secretary David Davis to ram home his point.
And Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker said he hoped the message that a reversal is still possible “will be heard clearly in London”.
Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning, Mr Tusk said: “As regards our future relations, what we need today is more clarity on the UK’s vision.
“Once we have that the leaders will meet and decide on the way the EU sees its future relationship with the UK as a third country.
“If the UK Government sticks to its decision to leave Brexit will become a reality with all its negative consequences in March next year, unless there is a change of heart amongst our British friends.
“Wasn’t it David Davis who said himself that if a democracy cannot change its mind it ceases to be a democracy?
“We here on the continent haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open to you.”
Mr Juncker – who warned last week that Europhiles who want Brexit to be reversed are kidding themselves – added: “President Tusk also made some comments on Brexit he said that our door still remains open and I hope that that will be heard clearly in London.”
His deputy Frans Timmermans chimed in: “If at some point the UK has second thoughts or would take another decision, obviously the EU would leave the door open.”
The comments were immediately leapt upon by Remainers who claimed they would fuel public appetite for a rerun of the 2016 Brexit vote.
Labour MP Ian Murray MP said: “Until we’ve actually left, Brexit is a reversible process, that much is clear. If people decide that Brexit isn’t the right path for the country, they have the right to change their minds.”
However, they were met with a furious response from Brexiteers who accused Brussels of meddling in UK politics.
Ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage told The Sun: “The British political class are colluding with the European Commission to make an unbearable deal in an attempt to reverse the democratic decision of the British people.”
Businessman Richard Tice, chairman of Leave Means Leave, said today: “Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker need to accept that Britain is a democracy – something the EU knows very little about.
“The British people voted to leave the EU and this decision will not be reversed, despite their best efforts.”
January 16th, 2018: The Sun