Prague, Sept 23 (CTK) – The current rights of Czech citizens in Britain will be preserved after Brexit, the British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay, assured Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek at their meeting today.
Barclay also called on Czechs not to hesitate to register with the British authorities, which is necessary for the recognition of those living in the UK.
Deputy PM Hamacek appreciated the accommodating approach to Czech citizens. At the same time, he stressed that security cooperation between the Czech Republic and Britain must continue.
He noted that the Czech government would prefer Brexit on the basis of a bilateral agreement.
Britain esteems Czech citizens living there who contributed to the country’s functioning, Barclay said.
However, he reminded that all who would like to stay in Britain after Brexit with all their current rights guaranteed must register with the local authorities in time. The registration is free of charge, he stressed.
Hamacek also reminded that the Czech Republic had adopted the law to guarantee the same rights the EU citizens enjoyed to British citizens.
Barclay assured him that Britain would treat Czech citizens in the same way as the Czech Republic was treating those of the United Kingdom.
After a meeting with Hamacek, Barclay praised close bilateral relations between the Czech Republic and Britain. He said he wished they were preserved in the economy and security spheres as well.
Bonds between the Czech Republic and the UK are so good and so important that they must continue, he said. Information exchange must not be limited as security is significant and cannot become a subject of political games, he added.
The Czech Republic respects the British citizens’ decision to leave the EU from the referendum in 2016 when a narrow majority of them voted for Brexit, Hamacek said.
He added that he also perceived London’s commitment to leave the EU as of the end of October and not to postpone the Brexit deadline. “It would be ideal for us if this was a departure with a deal,” he noted.
Barclay said it was in Britain’s interest to leave the EU with a deal, which would be more advantageous for both sides. However, he continued, such a deal must have a chance to make it through the British parliament, which means it cannot include “the Irish backstop.”
This is a draft agreement between London and the EU that aims to prevent a hard border in Ireland after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, which a number of British politicians oppose.
“It is important that the UK leave but we are committed to doing so with a deal, we think a deal is in both sides’ interest and a no-deal would be disruptive,” Reuters cites Barclay as saying in Prague.