European Council President Donald Tusk has called on the UK to come up with a “serious response” on what will happen to EU citizens in Britain after Brexit.
“We need guarantees,” he said in Brussels as 27 EU leaders backed the bloc’s Brexit negotiating guidelines.
The rights of EU citizens to live, work and study in the UK is one of three topics they want dealt with in the first phase of Brexit talks.
Negotiations will start after the UK election on 8 June.
Mr Tusk put citizens’ rights centre stage at a news conference after EU leaders – minus UK PM Theresa May – nodded through the guidelines in a matter of minutes.
“Over the past weeks, we have repeatedly heard from our British friends, also during my visit in London, that they are ready to agree on this issue quickly,” he said.
“But I would like to state very clearly that we need real guarantees for our people to live, work and study in the UK.
“The same goes for the Brits,” living on the European continent, he continued.
UK citizens living in EU countries and non-UK EU citizens living in Britain are estimated at 4.5 million.