The European Council meeting last week confirmed agreement on a set of issues relating to UK withdrawal from the EU in March 2019. This includes agreement on preserving the rights of both EU nationals living in the UK and of British nationals living in the other 27 European Countries. On that basis, the European Council agreed to start work on negotiating the future relationship between UK and EU after our withdrawal.
When you made the decision to live in another EU member state, I guess you were not expecting that the UK would decide to leave the bloc. But the agreement announced by our Prime Minister, Theresa May, and European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, secures the rights of the three million EU citizens living in the UK and the million of British citizens living in the rest of the EU 27. It also puts in place reciprocal protections for British citizens living in the EU and for EU citizens living in the UK.
In parallel with the start of negotiations on the future UK/EU relationship, the terms of the agreement on withdrawal arrangements will now be translated into a formal legal text. This will involve settling the fine details of some very complex and technical issues. But it should address any remaining anxieties you have about exactly how your rights, including access to healthcare and to pension and other benefits, will be protected.
I hope that I can meet many of you over the next 3 months to explain what has been agreed in a little more detail as things become clearer.
I wish you and all your families merry Christmas and a happy 2018.