Mr Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, took to social media to offer his thoughts on an article in the Financial Times, suggesting Mr Johnson’s plan to diverge from EU rules after Brexit made it less likely that the bloc would sign up for such a trade deal. The report, which cited “officials and diplomats in Brussels”, was posted by Mr Verhofstadt, who commented: “If the UK really does want lower environment and social standards, an ambitious post Brexit EU-UK trade deal will be difficult to achieve and face a precarious ratification process.”
In a separate tweet, Mr Verhofstadt focused on the issue of the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.
He said: “Whatever Brexit we get, 1 thing must be secured no matter what: the citizens’ rights on both sides of the channel.
“@Europarl_EN demands the UK to approve ‘settled status’ automatically for ALL Europeans.
“The burden of proof to reverse must be with the Home Office, not the citizens.
“People can never be bargaining chips in political negotiations.”
He also referenced comments by France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who has suggested Emmanuel Macron may veto a UK request for another Article 50 extension, even if Mr Johnson does ask for one.
On Friday he retweeted a cartoon carried in a Dutch newspaper of Mr Johnson which was clearly meant to be reminiscent of Winston Churchill, along with the headline: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much ****ed up for so many by so few.”
Also on Friday, Mr Verhofstadt told the European Parliament’s official magazine he was unhappy with Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s characterisation of Parliamentary legislation aimed at preventing a no deal Brexit as a “Surrender Bill”, a phrase also used by Mr Johnson himself.
Mr Verhofstadt said: “Opposing a no deal is not surrender. This is the language of Europe’s dark past.
“It implies Britain’s European allies and neighbours are enemies.
“I refuse to believe the majority of British people think this is the case.”
Last month, in response to Mr Johnson’s bid to prorogue Parliament, he tweeted: “‘Taking back control’ has never looked so sinister.
“As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard.
“Suppressing debate on profound choices is unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU-UK relationship.”
Mr Verhofstadt also took centre-stage in a recent BBC One documentary, Brexit: Behind Closed Doors, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the months leading up to March 29, the date the UK was originally due to quit the bloc.
Published at Sun, 08 Sep 2019 18:02:00 +0000