Guy Verhofstadt believes Brexit hands the EU an opportunity to sort itself out
Mr Verhofstadt, author of "Europe's Last Chance" said Brexit created a chance to build a “European FBI”, integrating member states with further information sharing, and create common defence and border controls.
He said rather than retreat and fracture after Britain cuts ties with the bloc, Europe should create a stronger political and defence union and unify its common market across more industries and service sectors.
He said: "It is a wake-up call driven by Brexit and amplified by the elections in the United States.
Brexit is a wake-up call driven by Brexit and amplified by the elections in the United States
"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.”
One of the former Belgian prime minister’s ideas is the creation of an agency based on America’s FBI.
Speaking to Business Insider he said: ”We have to establish, what I call a 'European FBI' because there are many threats on terrorism but every country is working separately from each other."
Guy Verhofstadt with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
He said future collaborations will improve communication and reduce duplication between the EU's member states.
Mr Verhofstadt said it was "far too early" to speculate on Brexit's impact for Britain or the City of London.
He said: ”It is clear the transition needs to be limited in time. I have seen temporary things become eternal.
Guy Verhofstadt said Brexit's full impact on the EU is yet to be felt
"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.
"We have to see if they ask for a free trade agreement. It could be something different.”
Guy Verhofstadt wants the European Parliament to have a seat at Brexit talks
Theresa May's 12 point Brexit plan
Mon, January 16, 2017
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
Mr Verhofstadt wants the European Parliament represented at the Brexit negotiating table rather than be consulted before and after each round of talks.
He said: ”We have to conclude before the European elections of 2019. Britain will not be able to choose policies allowing it to fare better by being outside of the EU instead of being a full member.”