Rather than fracture and retreat, Brexit should be seen as a wake-up call.
Taking Brexit on a positive note, the European Union Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator stated that Britain’s decision to make a clean break with the EU is in fact an opportunity for EU to reform and further cement ties within its member states.
Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister and member of the European Parliament, went on to add that U.S. President Donald Trump’s growing protectionism is a wake-up call for the EU.
“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,” said Verhofstadt while promoting his new book “Europe’s Last Chance.”
Today, Britain’s Supreme Court is set to rule on whether the British parliament must first agree whether British Prime Minister Theresa May can formally trigger Article 50 which will trigger the country’s two-year divorce process.
When asked ow Brexit will have an impact on London’s financial centre, Verhofstadt said it was “far too early” to speculate.
“It is clear the transition needs to be limited in time. I have seen temporary things become eternal,” said Verhofstadt while adding: “What is far more important is a clear triggering of 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.”
Incidentally, Verhofstadt is working to get Parliament a seat at the negotiating table rather than be consulted before and after each round of talks.
“We have to conclude before the European elections of 2019,” he reiterated while underscoring the idea that Britain should not be allowed to cherry pick its options which could allow it to fare better by being outside of the EU than being a full member.
He went on to add, rather than retreat and fracture, Europe should learn from Brexit and create a better political and defence union which could unify its common market across services and industries.
“It is a wake-up call,” he said, driven by “Brexit, and amplified by the elections in the United States.”