The EU has recommended in a new document that member governments make specific preparations for the possibility of the UK leaving the bloc without any negotiated arrangement.
Among other issues, it highlighted what a no-deal Brexit would mean for citizens, saying: “There would be no specific arrangement in place for EU citizens in the UK, or for UK citizens in the EU.”
Asked specifically about this, Raab said: “Well, I think that’s a rather irresponsible thing to be coming from the other side. We ought to be trying to reassure citizens on the continent and also here.”
Raab said it was “far-fetched and fanciful” to think that, in the event of a no deal Brexit, the government would not act “swiftly” to secure the legal position of EU nationals in the UK.
Irresponsible to be recommending preparations for an eventuality that leading members of the UK governing party are promoting as their preferred outcome.
Utterly fanciful to think that the UK parliament would not be capable of coming to a rapid consensus, particularly when it comes to assuring the human rights of foreigners, whom the political class all hold so dear. Why could anyone suspect that the UK government would not act with the utmost humanity and sensitivity to the situation of long-time UK residents whose legal position is not clearly defined. I can’t think of a single reason. What’s the worst that could happen?
And it’s not as though the UK hasn’t specifically refused to provide legally binding assurance that Europeans resident in the UK will maintain their current status. (The most charitable explanation for this is that they wish to threaten the EU citizens in the UK in order to raise pressure on the EU in the negotiations. So much for the EU document being irresponsible and “obviously an attempt to try and ramp up the pressure”.)