Did Chancellor Merkel really block PM May’s proposal on EU citizens?

The independent website is carrying a story that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has blocked Theresa May’s proposal to guarantee EU citizens rights before Brexit negotiations begin in earnest next year. The story originally appeared on the Politico website and was apparently discussed during the two leaders meeting at the recent NATO summit.

It’s not entirely surprising, as Merkel has made it clear that there should be no negotiations before the UK finally declares its hand and submits its request to leave the European Union according to Article 50. The German government is frustrated that the UK has not clarified its thoughts on how it sees the future relationship with its major trading partners on the continent. Merkel rejected the proposal to cement “acquired rights” at this early stage – she’s probably worried that part of the UK’s negotiating tactics is to make as many side deals as possible in advance of the formal discussion.

Of course, for both UK citizens in other European countries and for EU citizens in the UK, it’s unsatisfactory. It would be have been useful to resolve their status at this early stage. It would remove, however, one negotiation card in the current Great Game being played out between London and Brussels.