Brexit: Britain and Norway agree deal to protect citizens' rights in event of no-deal
Theresa May made the announcement with Norwegian PM Erna Solberg in Oslo on Tuesday
Citizens of both countries will be able to legally remain residents abroad even if there is no withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU.
The announcement was made at a summit in Oslo, which Theresa May attended on Tuesday to discuss cooperation with Nordic and Baltic leaders.
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“Prime Minister May and I agreed that Norway and UK will put in place a comprehensive citizens rights’ agreement,” Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister said.
“We will treat all UK citizens living in Norway ... so they will have the same opportunities as they had before also after March 2019.
She added that Britain and Norway were “very close” to agreeing a deal that would mirror any Brexit deal London concludes with the EU.
Norway is not a member of the EU, but is part of the European Economic Area, meaning it has free movement with the EU and participates in the single market.
Theresa May told a news conference in the Norwegian capital of Oslo: “Whatever happens, we confirm that people from the EEA, the Norwegian citizens and those others who are living in the UK, and who have made their life choice to be in the UK, well, to be able to be in the UK. We want them to stay.”
A deal to respect EU citizens rights and the rights of British citizens in the EU has been mostly agreed as part of withdrawal negotiations but will only come into effect if there is a deal.
Groups representing British citizens abroad have however warned that the agreement is insufficient as it will mostly tie citizens to one country, making it difficult for UK nationals to do jobs that involve them traveling abroad to work – as is common for many business roles and professions.
EU countries are working on emergency preparations to secure British citizens’ legal status in the event of a no-deal, while the UK has said it will unilaterally guarantee the residency of EU nationals.
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