March 5, 2019 / 1:56 PM / a year ago

Brexit secretary Barclay asks EU for help with citizens' rights - letter

Britain's Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay are seen outside of Downing Street in London, Britain, March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has asked the European Union for its “formal views” on a proposal to preserve citizens’ rights regardless of whether a Brexit deal is agreed, according a letter published by the government on Tuesday.

Last month, the government adopted a proposal by a Conservative lawmaker to ensure that the safeguards on the rights of British citizens living in the EU and vice versa in the divorce deal be ensured even if the deal is not ratified.

“In light of our aim, we have already set out a fair and comprehensive unilateral offer of how we will protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK that is based on the Withdrawal Agreement,” Barclay wrote in the letter dated March 4.

He said the government welcomed the Commission’s request for EU members to adopt “a generous approach” to British citizens living in the bloc, but that the government had “particular concerns in relation to healthcare arrangements”.

“I would be happy to explore this further with you to consider solutions that will ensure that the arrangements for citizens, in particular vulnerable citizens, are safeguarded in all scenarios.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by William James

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