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May offers "reassurance" but EU nationals still feel unwelcome: Dr Lucy Hatton

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed in a Facebook post to make it as easy as possible for EU nationals to remain in the UK.

Dr Lucy Hatton, an expert in democracy and legitimacy in the European Union, outlines her view on the story:

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“Theresa May’s comments on Facebook today offer some reassurance that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK have not been forgotten, and she mentions a number of systems and processes that at first glance appear encouragingly straightforward. However, I am not sure it is enough to allay the anxieties of individuals and industries within the UK that rely on EU nationals to function.

"We are already seeing increasing numbers of EU nationals leaving the UK, reporting concerns over their future and simply feeling unwelcome as reasons for leaving. The latter reason is unsurprising given that a quick look at the most popular comments on May’s Facebook post reveals EU nationals within the UK being described as ‘leeches’ and ‘outsiders’.

"Hopefully the outcome of the summit and the next round of negotiations will help to add further clarity to the situation, though the limited progress that has reportedly been made so far in the negotiations does not raise hopes. The slow pace of agreement between the UK and the EU, along with EU nationals continually facing derogatory comments about their status in UK society, means that we need to question whether Theresa May’s optimism that her comments provide them with ‘further helpful certainty’ is misplaced.”

19 October 2017

Further information contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Manager

+44 (0) 7824 540 863

+44 (0) 2476 150 868

L dot Walton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk