UK business, union leaders demand progress on EU post-Brexit rights

London (AFP) –


Britain's main trade union association and business groups issued a rare joint statement Thursday condemning the "intolerable" failure of the government and Brussels to agree the rights of expatriates after Brexit.

"After 15 months of human poker, the uncertainty facing four million European and UK citizens has become intolerable," said the leaders of the Trades Union Congress umbrella body and the CBI business lobby group.

"A clear guarantee of the right to remain for citizens in both the UK and EU27 is needed within weeks," they said.

A fourth round of Brexit negotiations wrapped up on Thursday without agreement on the rights of three million EU citizens living in Britain and more than one million Britons living elsewhere in the EU.

British Brexit Secretary David Davis said "real progress" had been made, but he and EU negotiator Michel Barnier once again disagreed on the role of European Court of Justice in enforcing any deal.

"It is a blight on the values of our nations. Millions of workers and thousands of firms are today united in their call to leaders on both sides to find an urgent solution," said the statement.

Signed by TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady and CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn, it notes the contribution made by EU citizens in Britain.

"They need to hear that they will be allowed to remain in the UK, whatever the eventual outcome of negotiations. Not only is this important for our economy, it is the right thing to do," they said.

The CBI represents 190,000 businesses across Britain, employing nearly seven million people, while the TUC represents millions of public and private sector workers.