Eastern bloc will veto any Brexit deal which compromises freedom of movement

This highlights the challenges the UK faces once Article 50 is triggered...

A coalition of Eastern European states is set to veto any Brexit deal that will compromise their citizens' right to live and work in the UK.

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has said that his country, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland will unite to block any deal which compromises the freedom of movement of people.

"Unless we feel a guarantee that these people [Slovakian citizens in the UK] are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain," he told Reuters.

"I think Britain knows this is an issue for us where there’s no room for compromise," he continued - these statements highlight difficult balancing act that the UK faces as it tries to secure its borders while retaining favourable trading conditions and access to the Single Market.

His comments echo the sentiments of European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who said, "There is a clear interlink as we made clear at the very beginning between the access to the internal market and the basic principles of the internal market — namely the free movement of workers, and we are sticking to that position."

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is apparently ready to accept that Britain will have to surrender its membership of the European Union's single market in order to secure the immigration restrictions that 'Leave' voters demanded in June.

Bloomberg reports two anonymous officials close to Hammond as saying that he believes it is unrealistic to expect to be included in the single market, which gives UK banks important access to its continental clients after Brexit is completed.

 

Additional reporting Craig Fitzpatrick