Bulgaria wants protection of acquired rights of EU citizens and their families in the UK after Brexit, according to a position adopted by the government in Sofia at a regular meeting on May 17.

Protection of acquired rights of all categories of citizens and their families to the extent guaranteed by European legislation is a top priority for Bulgaria, according to the position paper, approved by the Cabinet ahead of an EU General Affairs Council meeting on May 22 in Brussels.

?Bulgaria will insist on non-discriminatory and effectively enforceable mechanisms to protect these rights, including the right of permanent residence, health and pension rights of long-term or permanent residents of the United Kingdom, as well as students to continue their education without changing the terms,? the government media service said.

At the May 22 meeting, to be attended by cabinet ministers from 27 of the 28 EU countries ? by definition, with the UK not represented because of it having given notice it is leaving the bloc ? the Council will give the European Commission a mandate to start negotiations with the United Kingdom on behalf of the EU.

The effective start of negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is expected to come immediately after the UK?s June 8 parliamentary elections.

?Bulgaria will support the decision to grant the mandate of the European Commission to start negotiations,? the government statement said.

It said that the approach in the proposed negotiating directives was consistent with the interests and priorities of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria would support the approach proposed by the European Commission regarding budgetary matters.

?Adherence to this approach is consistent with the national interest, as it would help to minimize the negative effects on the EU budget and would not lead to changes in the contributions of member states to the Union budget,? the Bulgarian government said.

/Politics

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