Prime Minister Theresa May links rights of Polish citizens in the UK with the rights of British expats
The influx of Polish workers was a main campaign issues during the Brexit vote. There are more than 850,000 Poles in the UK – the largest group of EU nationals by far.
Mrs May met Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo in Warsaw after meeting Slovakian PM Robert Fico, BBC reported. At a joint press conference May said she valued Poles’ contribution to the UK.
“We need to find a solution that addresses the concerns of the British people about free movement, while getting the best possible deal on trade in goods and services. We should be driven by what is in the best interests of the UK and what is going to work for the European Union, not by the models that already exist,” Mrs May said at a press conference earlier.
May paid tribute to Polish pilots who fought alongside the British in World War Two and said the partnership between the two countries would “endure long after the United Kingdom has left the European Union”.
Of the hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens living and working in the UK, she said: “I want and expect to be able to guarantee their rights in the UK.
The only circumstances in which that would not be possible would be if the rights of British citizens living across the EU were not guaranteed.”
May said she wanted to “make a success of Brexit” and would “seek to address the concerns of the British people about free movement” while working for a “close economic relationship with the EU”.
“Of course there will be different interests and complex issues to resolve but I firmly believe that if we approach this in a constructive and positive spirit then we can pave the way for a calm and orderly departure,
“And in that context I want to be clear that Poles living in the UK continue to be welcome and we value the contribution they make to our country. We condemned the shameful and despicable attacks against Polish communities and others in the wake of the referendum result.
“Hate crime of any kind directed against any community, race or religion has absolutely no place in British society.”