Germany has refuted that it has rebuffed an early deal with Britain over the rights of its citizens living in Britain. It said there was complete unanimity among the twenty-seven countries that make up the European Union. It added the subject can only be discussed once Article 50, the formal process for leaving is triggered.
Peter Lilley, Conservative MP, told the Brexit committee on Wednesday that Germany was one of two countries that Theresa May was referring to when she said she could not guarantee full support on citizen rights.
In her speech, Theresa May said, “We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain and the rights of Britons in other member states as early as we can.
“I have told other EU leaders that we could give people the certainty they want straight away, and reach such a deal now. Many of them favour such an agreement – one or two others do not – but I want everyone to know that it remains a priority for Britain.”
Ulrike Demmer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman said, “The 27 heads of state have already made clear in their joint statement on 29 June 2016 – so immediately after the referendum – that participation in the single market goes hand in hand with all four freedoms of the single market, and on this question all member states are unanimous.
“There is also complete unanimity that there can be no pre-negotiations with Great Britain before notification.”
At a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, Merkel said, “We agreed we will coordinate our positions. In relation to our economies, I’m not afraid. I think we’ll stick together. Europe must not be divided and we will make sure this doesn’t happen by keeping very close contacts with each other.”
It is believed that although Britain and Germany have roughly the same amount of people living in each other’s countries, Germany couldn’t come to an early deal due to the nature of EU negotiations.