Guy Verhofstadt says Britain rejoining the EU 'will happen in the coming decades'

Posted On: 
17th January 2020

Guy Verhofstadt suggested that the UK could rejoin the EU in the next few decades as young voters will demand it. 

Guy Verhofstadt is the European Parliament's Brexit Coordinator

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, the European Parliament’s Brexit chief said future generations may regret the country’s decision to leave. 

He said: “I think that will happen, yes. It’s difficult to say when actually but there will be a generation, a young generation in the coming decades who will say, ‘what have we done, we want to go back.’”

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“It will happen. Maybe I will not see it in my life anymore, but it will happen."

The former Belgian prime minister was responding to comments made by British MEP Seb Dance on the country’s final day in the European Parliament.

The Labour MEP tweeted: “One day British MEPs will get to sit here again and represent our interests and work with our neighbours to solve common problems. Britain is taking a sabbatical.”

Mr Verhofstadt also discussed the UK’s upcoming trade negotiations with the EU, suggesting that it would be “very difficult” to reach a deal.

He said: “I think both sides have an interest to be very ambitious, but how far this will go is very difficult to say today becuase it will depend on what the willingness is of the UK side to comply with a number of standards in the EU.”

A number of other issues such as security measures, defence strategy and foreign policy also needed to be discussed, he added. 

But, the EU’s Brexit chief said that it was “obvious” that the EU needed a close relationship with the UK.

He also touched upon the rights of EU citizens, which he had discussed in a meeting with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Thursday evening. 

Mr Verhofstadt said he’d had “assurances” from Mr Barclay that there would not be mandatory deportation of rightful citizens who had not applied for settled status by the deadline.

EU citizens would also soon be given a “physical document” to prove their settled status, he added.