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May's proposal to let E.U. citizens stay after Brexit

Virginia Mayo / AP

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May offered European Union leaders a proposal during a summit in Brussels last night to allow E.U. citizens the right to stay in the U.K. after Brexit — a key point of contention in Brexit negotiations.

The 3 million E.U. citizens currently living in the U.K. would not be forced to leave when Brexit occurs in March 2019, and those who had spent five years in the U.K. would be given "settled status," allowing them the same rights as U.K. citizens. Her proposal is contingent on getting a similar deal for the 1 million Brits currently living in the other 27 E.U. member states.

Why it matters: The U.K.'s membership in the EU has been key to its economic vibrancy, making it Europe's financial center. May's offer could help retain its stature by reassuring EU citizens that they can remain in the country.