‘NO ROOM FOR COMPROMISE’ Brexit deal will be blocked by Eastern European countries unless the rights of their citizens who live in the UK are protected

Robert Fico said Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia would be uncompromising in negotiations

AN INFLUENTIAL group of Eastern European countries is ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit people’s right to work in the UK, according to Slovakian PM Robert Fico.

The politician said Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – known as the Visegrad Four – want a guarantee their nationals “are equal” before agreeing any deal.

Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico

Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico said Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia is ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit people’s right to work in the UK

European Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker said Britain could not achieve full access to the EU market that it would ideally like, if it closed off free immigration for EU citizens

He said the four countries will be “uncompromising” in the negotiations.

Fico said: “V4 [Visegrad group] countries will be uncompromising.

“Unless we feel a guarantee that these people are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain.

“I think Britain knows this is an issue for us where there’s no room for compromise.”

His comments come a day after the EU’s first major meeting without the UK.

The Bratislava summit was overshadowed by Brexit – despite not being formally discussed.

At the end of the summit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker repeated that Britain could not achieve its desired full access to the EU market if it closed off free immigration for EU citizens.

Mr Fico argued that he and other leaders whose citizens make up much of the EU migrant population in Britain would not let those people become “second class citizens”.

He said it was for Poland – which holds the Visegrad presidency – to speak on behalf of the group.

All the EU leaders have insisted there will be no formal Brexit talks until Britain triggers the two-year divorce process.

Theresa May

European Council president Donald Tusk revealed Brexit will probably begin in January or February 2017, according to a private chat with Theresa May


GETTY IMAGESccEU Prime Ministers and Presidents attend a round table during the European Union Summit of 27 Heads of State or Government in Bratislava yesterday

PM Theresa May meets Donald Tusk on Brexit revealing a lot of legEuropean Council President Donald Tusk said Prime Minister Theresa May had recently told him that might be in January or February 2017.

At a press conference, Mr Tusk let slip that the PM had told him it was “quite likely” the UK would trigger Article 50 in January or February 2017.

Mr Tusk quoted the private conversation following a stormy summit of EU leaders in Bratislava with the 27 other EU leaders, but not Mrs May.

He said she had given him the Brexit timetable during a private conversation at the Downing Street meeting.

Mr Tusk said it was “a sad moment for Europe when the British people decided to leave”.

But a Downing Street spokeswoman has downplayed his comments, saying they are just an “interpretation” of their conversation and said Mrs May did not specifically mention January or February at their meeting.

In a warning shot to Britain’s Brexit negotiators Mr Tusk warned they would “protect the interests of the 27, not the leaving country” in negotiations.

The Bratislava summit was intended as a discussion about the best way forward, following Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.

The Visegrad group has consistently opposed EU efforts to introduce mandatory quotas for migrants.


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Charlie Spencer

They have nothing that we desperately need. We can just walk away from their silly threats. Right now, I cannot think of a single thing that we buy or sell to them that is worth this kind of blackmail.


Testing only. Graham Wood

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