Discord over whether the exit process could still be reversed surfaced at the summit in Brussels as British Prime Minister Theresa May was preparing to brief the 27 European Union other leaders on the Brexit negotiations that started this week.
The two-day Brussels summit will predominately focus on counter-terrorism, common defence and security.
With migration being one of the most acute issues in Europe since the outbreak of the refugee crisis in 2015, the European Union heads are expected to assess the implementation of measures taken to curb the migration flow on the so-called Central Mediterranean route.
In Brussels, security has been stepped up after Tuesday's bombing at one of the city's main rail stations by an Islamic State sympathiser, following attacks in Britain and France. No one was injured in either incident.
The fate of an estimated three million Europeans now living in Britain and around one million Britons living elsewhere in the EU was thrown into doubt by Britain's vote to leave the bloc previous year.
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May also said it was important that the rights were reciprocated to the estimated 900,000 United Kingdom citizens living overseas.
Issues such as pensions, healthcare and residency status are all at stake.
A key issue he did not mention was the EU's bill for Britain to leave, which Brussels estimates at a colossal 100 billion euros.
Mrs May is not expected to detail any of the specifics of how citizens rights will be protected but instead give broad assurances. "It is the right and fair thing to do".
The source said Britain was "perfectly content" with the arrangements. "But the clear focus must be on the future of the 27, so that we have the best results". The insistence of European Union figures and government to agree the "divorce terms" first, means agreeing a full trade deal by March 2019 is now highly unlikely. "But protection should apply for the life time of the citizens who are concerned".
"I am an Anglophile", said Mr Rutte. "Second, it shows the stronger negotiating position of the European Union, and the benefits of long and detailed preparation".
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The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said: "For us, it is important to conclude Brexit with a good solution for both the EU and the UK".
May also rejected demands that the European Court of Justice should continue to oversee the rights of EU migrants after Brexit.
The 27 remaining members will also hear a report from chief negotiator Michel Barnier on his talks with David Davis earlier this week, when the Brexit Secretary accepted a European timetable to put off talks on a future trade relationship until progress has been made on the terms of the divorce.
"The Brexit negotiations started 3 days ago".
May will also aim to show that while still a member of the EU, Britain will contribute to other summit discussions, pressing for more action to encourage social media companies to clamp down on internet extremism and for the EU to roll over sanctions against Russian Federation over the Ukraine crisis.
"For me, the future of the EU27 take precedence over the talks of Britain's exit", she said.
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