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  1. ITV Report

First Minister's EU priorities are citizens and market

Carwyn Jones during his visit to Norway earlier this year. He wants the UK to have the same relationship as Norway to the EU single market. Photo: ITV News Cymru Wales

Exactly a year after the EU referendum and with Theresa May promising a "big generous offer" on European citizens' rights in the UK, Carwyn Jones is accusing her of prolonging the insecurity of four million people.

There are more than three million EU nationals living in Britain and nearly one million British people living elsewhere in the European Union. The First Minister says they have already faces 12 months of worry and uncertainty.

The past year has been marked by uncertainty and instability, compounded in recent weeks by the chaos at the heart of the UK Government, which is now actively undermining ongoing Brexit negotiations.

It is totally unacceptable that, one year on from the EU referendum, the UK still has no clarity on the path that lies ahead and is facing a future more uncertain than ever.

The Prime Minister has so far failed to set out in any meaningful detail what leaving the European Union will actually mean for the UK, its people and our economy.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Apart from immediate action to secure citizens' rights, Mr Jones says it's time to accept that the focus of Brexit negotiations must now be on securing a transitional arrangement with the EU, rather than a permanent arrangement.

A year on from the EU referendum it is becoming increasingly clear that it will be impossible to both negotiate a withdrawal agreement and put in place the basis for a future relationship with the EU within two years.

Therefore the priority in negotiations with the EU must now be on agreeing transitional arrangements to come into effect in April 2019. This will be vital in helping reduce the uncertainty around Brexit, which is damaging to the economy.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Mr Jones has also said that the vote a year ago means that Britain must leave the single market. But he believes that it's vital for Wales in particular that the UK secures full market access post Brexit. He favours a relationship with the EU similar to Norway's. He visited the Scandinavian country in January.

The people voted against being members of the EU but that doesn't mean you can't have full access to the single market. What does that mean to a business? Nothing -it's the same thing in effect. What it means for government is that we don't have any control over the rules of that market.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Norway is sometimes referred to as a "fax democracy" because it doesn't attend EU meetings but is informed of new single market rules which it has to obey. However, the Norwegians are allowed to limit freedom of movement by people and only allow in workers who have a job. It's also outside the Common Agricultural Policy but must pay tariffs on farm produce sold in EU member states.