Rights of Lithuanians after Brexit must be ensured - EU negotiator

Lithuanians gathering in Peterborough, UK
Foto: AP / Scanpix

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė said at a meeting with the European Union's (EU) Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that Lithuania's position was to prevent discrimination of EU citizens, including Lithuanians, during the United Kingdom's exit from the organization.

In a press release issued after consultations with the negotiator before the start of the Brexit talks, the Lithuanian President's Office said that Grybauskaitė listed the United Kingdom as EU's important economic and security partner. In her words, Lithuania speaks for a cooperation model that would suit all parties, however, free movement of persons and other fundamental freedoms cannot be undermined.

"In the president's words, it is the EU duty to ensure that EU citizens working, studying and living in the United Kingdom, including Lithuanians, are not faced with any discrimination and enjoy all social benefits," reads the press release.

During the stay in Vilnius, Barnier is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka.

At a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May last week, Grybauskaitė said that Lithuania would seek all possible post- Brexit guarantees for Lithuanians living in the United Kingdom. Lithuania's community in the UK includes about 200,000 people.

Barnier plans to tour all EU member-states before the start of the official Brexit negotiations, which Great Britain intends to initiate in the spring of 2017 and complete within two years.

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