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By Jacob Bojesson
British Prime Minister Theresa May is willing to give European Union citizens two years of free movement after Brexit takes effect in 2019, The Times reported Friday.
May’s cabinet reportedly agreed on a transition deal Thursday that will set the status of millions of EU citizens living in the country. A “senior source” told The Guardian that the open borders could last as long as four years.
The British government was forced to soften its Brexit stance after losing its majority in parliament in the June 8 election. Business Minister Lord Prior of Brampton said Wednesday that the government is now heading for the “softest of soft Brexits,” according to the Times. May believes “a period of implementation” is necessary to “avoid any cliff edges” after Brexit kicks in.
“The prime minister reiterated that the government’s overarching goal is for a smooth, orderly exit culminating in a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, with a period of implementation in order to avoid any cliff-edges,” a government spokesman said Thursday.
May told EU leaders June 23 that she was willing to let foreign citizens stay after Brexit and enjoy the same rights as British citizens. A condition for any deal will be that the 1 million British citizens who live abroad get the same treatment.
Brexit negotiations started in June and will conclude at the end of 2018.