Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt wants Brexit to pull the rest of the EU together
Guy Verhofstadt added that the election of US President Donald Trump and Washington’s move towards a more protectionist foreign policy was “a wake-up call” for Europe as Brussels prepares to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU.
In an interview in New York, Mr Verhofstadt said: "The Brexit discussion is a good opportunity not only to discuss and negotiate a new agreement, a new partnership with Britain, but also to fix that now it is time to have a real government in Europe”.
The Brexit discussion is a good opportunity not only to discuss and negotiate a new agreement, a new partnership with Britain, but also to fix that now it is time to have a real government in Europe
Following Theresa May’s announcement last week that Britain is set to leave the single market, the Brussels bigwig added it was “far too early” to speculate over the impact Brexit will have on Britain or the City of London, Europe’s largest financial centre.
He added: ”It is clear the transition needs to be limited in time. I have seen temporary things become eternal.
"What is far more important is a clear triggering of [Article] 50, a clear proposal by the British government and how they see the partnership in the future.
May's Brexit speech: Europe reacts
Tue, January 17, 2017
Politicians and celebrities tweet their reaction as Theresa May unveils her 12 point plan for Britain leaving the EU.
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"We have to see if they ask for a free trade agreement. It could be something different.”
With the UK Government set to trigger Article 50 by the end of March to begin Brexit negotiations, the former Belgian prime minister added that Britain’s EU exit must be concluded “before the European elections of 2019”.
Mr Verhofstadt was speaking in New York as he promoted his new book, 'Europe's Last Chance'
He echoed the sentiments of a number of leading European leaders when he claimed Britain would not be able to cherrypick certain EU policies to retain post-Brexit.
Mr Verhofstadt was promoting his new book, ‘Europe’s Last Chance’ and claimed Britain’s exit should be used as a catalyst to promote a stronger political and defence union, unifying its common market across increasing numbers of service sectors and industries.
The Prime Minister confirmed Britain will leave the single market during a major speech last week
The news comes as Brussels bureaucrats warned the UK against starting formal trade negotiations before formally leaving the EU.
Ahead of Theresa May’s meeting with President Trump on Friday, a spokesman for the European Commission warned the Prime Minister: “There is nothing in the treaties that prohibits you from discussing trade.
“You can only negotiate a trade agreement after you leave the European Union.”