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Britain pursues ‘full role’ in post-Brexit EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated Britain’s demand for a full cooperative role with the European Union after the country’s exit from the bloc in 2019.

“This council isn’t just about our exit negotiations, it’s also about various other really important issues; defense, security, counter-terrorism, migration; and I’m going to be showing how the UK will continue to play a full role,”  May said on Thursday while arriving at a key summit in Brussels with EU leaders.

“I particularly, for example, want to see an urgency in reaching an agreement on citizens’ rights” and “continued cooperation” with the EU on defense and security, she said.

She claimed that “concrete progress” had been made in Brexit negotiations and she was “setting out ambitious plans for the weeks ahead.”

In an open letter published on Thursday on her Facebook page, May said that London will push for citizens’ rights as she looks for the best possible deal for the UK.

Analysts say May is seeking to reassure the approximately 3 million EU citizens living in the UK that they will be able to remain there post-Brexit.

European Union President Donald Tusk warned Britain on Wednesday not to expect any breakthrough in Brexit negotiations at an EU summit this week, saying London needed to come up with more concrete proposals.

Last week, EU Chief Negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier said that Britain and the EU had hit a “deadlock” in talks, although he said some progress had been made.

Fears are growing that London may fail to strike a withdrawal agreement with Brussels before its formal departure on March 29, 2019.

EU leaders have voiced frustration over what seems to be London’s reluctance to cover the expenses for its exit from the bloc.

May has promised to maintain Britain’s contributions to the EU for two years after Brexit in March 2019 to complete the current EU budget period, totaling around 20 billion euros ($24 billion).

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