Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy broadly welcomed the British Government’s statement on ‘the rights of citizens’ made in Brussels by Theresa May on Thursday evening which he described as being ‘a priority for Spain.’ He said that the proposals were a positive first step but ‘they could be better.’
May said that London will grant British status with rights to health care, education, social benefits and pensions – to any EU who has resided in the United Kingdom for five years.
However in a statement at a press conference following the European Council in Brussels Rajoy said that he felt the British Government needed to go much further in protecting the rights of those EU citizens who have made their homes in the UK for less than five years.
“I think it’s good that the first thing we talk about is the rights of citizens”, continued Rajoy, but “we would prefer to better regulate all people who have not achieved five years of residence, and that is a battle we will make”, he continued.
That is why May’s proposal “has not sounded bad, but it could have sounded better,” warned the Prime Minister, who also held an informal meeting with the British prime minister on Thursday, which he described as being held in a relaxed atmosphere.