A top European Union official says Europe and Britain don't want to use each other's citizens as "hostages" in the Brexit talks, and also says there's no room for security issues to be used for "blackmail."
Resolving the status of British and other European citizens living in each other's countries will be an early priority. Frans Timmermans, the vice president of the European Commission, said in Madrid Friday: "These people shouldn't suffer because of Brexit." He added that "there is no one who wants to use citizens as hostages in this, no one. Not on the British side, not on the European side."
Some felt Britain's departure letter hinted that London was threatening to end security cooperation unless it gets a good Brexit deal.
But Timmermans said: "You can't blackmail someone with one of your own existential requirements ... there is no real possibility for blackmail there because security for the United Kingdom, even if they're not in the EU, will stay an essential requirement for themselves."