Guy Verhofstadt told Newsnight the EU was “not fit for purpose” and “not effective” but urged European nations to commit to the sprawling project.
The Europhile told Evan Davis: “The problem of Europe, lets be very honest, the problem of Europe is not that it is a big European Union because the budget of the European Union is only one per cent of European GDP.
Evan Davis and Guy Verhofstadt clashed on Newsnight
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That is the problem today. It’s not fit for purpose, it’s not effective, always too little to late
“The problem is that it is still a confederation, a loose confederation of nation states based on the unanimity rule.
“You know and I know that an international organisation based on the unanimity rule where 28 heads of state and government have to agree acts always too little too late.
“And that is the problem today. It’s not fit for purpose, it’s not effective, always too little to late. And therefore we need to reform it.”
Verhofstadt is a strong advocate of a federal Europe. The Belgian MEP has previously launched a six-point plan which proposed the scrapping of individual member states and Europe would move towards a republican form of governance based on the system used in the United States.
Verhofstadt, a former Prime Minister of Belgium, revived the controversial proposals in August 2016.
He also called for radical reform of the European Commission, which makes Brussels law, to turn it into a “small European government” made up of 12 ministers.
Guy Verhofstadt advocated deeper integration between EU nations
Speaking to Evan Davis last night, the former Belgian prime minister also claimed the EU’s vast budget was not a “problem” – despite the UK pumping £350million into EU coffers every week.
Verhofstadt – whose book ‘Europe’s Last Chance’ explicitly calls for a United States of Europe – reiterated his previous threats that Britain must be punished with a worse deal than the existing EU membership.
He claimed that Britain would not be able to “pick and choose” certain elements of EU membership – such as specific trade agreements for certain industries such as car manufacturing – while the UK removes itself from other principles.
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Guy Verhofstadt has clashed with Nigel Farage in the EU Parliament on numerous occasions
The 63-year-old admitted: “We need a fair partnership – you can’t create a status for countries outside the EU where its even more favourable than for the countries who are a member of the EU.”
Verhofstadt even claimed that he thought even the “best” Brexit deal for Britain would include remaining part of the single market – a move which would see the nation wedded to the free movement of people under the existing EU principles.
The liberal politician said: “My idea was a totally different one. My idea was against Brexit, that even the best solution would be that Britain would still be part of the single market, not only for us, but in the main interest of the British industry, British economy and British workers.”
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