Verhofstadt: European Parliament welcomes European Commission’s draft Brexit negotiating directive
Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator, this morning presented an overview of the preparations for Brexit negotiations to MEPs on the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee.
Mr Verhofstadt concluded that almost all of the European Parliament’s priorities have been included in the draft-negotiating directive presented today by Michel Barnier. The Parliament will once again feed its views into the Council, prior to the formal adoption of this negotiating directives on the 22nd May.
Commenting after the meeting this morning, Guy Verhofstadt said;
“I welcome the draft negotiating directive presented today by my colleague Michel Barnier, with whom I have worked closely to ensure that almost all of the European Parliament’s priorities have been included.”
“The European Parliament believes the first chapter to be negotiated should be citizens’ rights. The Brexit decision has created uncertainty for millions of people - it is a priority for us to deal with these issues first, but neither side should underestimate how complex they will be to solve. The draft negotiating directives released today clearly outline all of the issues that need to be addressed”
“Brexit talks must not be allowed to hinder the day to day operation of the European Union and I am pleased this point has been included in the negotiation directive today.”
“A car crash Brexit would be a bad thing for the UK and the EU alike. We should not start the negotiations hoping for failure, as the goal is to find a positive new relationship.”
On the financial settlement made necessary by the Brexit decision, Verhofstadt said;
“It is important we agree to sound accounting principles first, before discussing precise figures. It is not fair to say this is a question of punishment or revenge - Britain has made commitments, which must be honoured. “
Mr Verhofstadt also announced that, once negotiations have formally begun, the European Parliament will prepare a resolution later this year, as necessary, to assess whether “sufficient progress” has been made in order to move from phase one of the negotiations to phase two.
“The European Parliament intends to pass a resolution providing its opinion to EU leaders as to whether “sufficient progress” has been made in order to move from phase one of talks to phase two. This will help to democratise the negotiation process and enhance transparency. ”
On the 11th May, ahead of the General Affairs Council on the 22nd May, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents will formally respond to the negotiating directive presented today.