May Hints at Softer Stance on EU Migration in Brexit Trade Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. would look at the issue of European migration as part of negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, an indication she may be willing to consider special treatment for the bloc’s citizens.

May reiterated her aim for a comprehensive and ambitious trade deal with the EU after the divorce. “Obviously as part of that we will be looking at the issue of movement, but we will recognize that there will be EU citizens who will still want to work and study in the U.K. and U.K. citizens who will still want to work and study in the EU27,” she said.

The U.K. will be out of the single market, out of the EU’s freedom of movement rules, and setting its own regulations on immigration, she said at a press conference in Copenhagen.

Controlling immigration, and putting an end to free movement from EU countries, was one of the main issues in the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016. But May’s insistence on it is one of the obstacles that will prevent the U.K. from keeping its access to Europe’s single market after the split.

May says she wants a trade deal that’s more ambitious than any of the EU’s previous accords. But so far, the EU has said her aspirations aren’t feasible as they amount to cherry-picking the best bits of membership without accepting the responsibilities.

In the latest sign that May is still to be convinced of the merits of Brexit, the prime minister avoided answering a question on whether she has changed her mind on the split since campaigning for Remain in the referendum.

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