Theresa May isn’t going to have an easy job taking over for David Cameron as the UK’s Prime Minister during the continued Brexit saga.
At some point in the near future, May is expected to implement Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and navigate the country through the delicate waters of Brexit, months after her citizens voted for the UK to leave the European Union.
In order to do so, she’ll need to negotiate terms that must be approved by all 27 member states.
But one of her biggest obstacles might be the Visegrád Group, an alliance between the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland created to further their European interests, reports The Telegraph.
Speaking at an EU summit in Bratislava late last week – the first such summit without UK representation present – Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico took a hard stance when referring to the right for EU citizens to live and work in the UK.
“V4 countries will be uncompromising,” Fico threatened.
“Unless we feel a guarantee that these people [EU citizens living and working in Britain] are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain. I think Britain knows this is an issue for us where there’s no room for compromise.”
Fico isn’t the only V4 representative speaking out about the UK’s preliminary Brexit talks.
Tomáš Prouza, Czech State Secretary for European Affairs, called the UK’s Brexit terms “completely unrealistic” in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month.
“There’s a lot of frustration among the EU leaders, because what you sometimes hear from London is completely unrealistic,” Prouza noted.
“They will have to give up on some things. The very basis of diplomacy is reciprocity, and that’s something they need to understand.”
The UK’s stance on EU citizens living and working in the country – one of the basic tenets of the successful Leave campaign in June – will undoubtedly have an effect on its own citizens living and working abroad throughout the EU.
Once the UK implements Article 50, the country will have up to two years to negotiate terms with each member state individually.
The way things look now, that might not be enough time.