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21st Jul 2017

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The British must not hold the EU to ransom

  • "The Liberal Democrats in Britain will not give up, we will stand up at the next elections alone if need to be, as the only part in Britain who will say that Britain's place is in the European Union," said Tim Farron. (Photo: ALDE Group)

On Tuesday 28 June, ahead of the EU council summit, Guy Verhofstadt, president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament, together with ALDE Party President and MEP, Hans Van Baalen, and the prime minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, met with more than sixty liberal heads of states, party leaders and EU commissioners of the ALDE family at the Egmont Palace in Brussels.

The main topic of discussion was the outcome of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom.

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“We cannot afford to be stuck in limbo. The British must not hold the EU to ransom. Triggering Article 50 is necessary, if we are to respect the democratic choice of the British people," said Verhofstadt.

"We should use this momentum to make the EU work again, which means an effective European government for the Eurozone, a European border and coast guard to safeguard free movement, a European capacity to fight terrorism and a defence community. The result of this referendum is a wake-up call which we should use to move forward. We will only be able to turn the tide by working more efficiently together,” he added.

Commenting on the meeting, Van Baalen said: "It feels unreal that we are now talking of the EU without Great Britain, but you never know what can happen given that many Brits are now asking for a time to rethink. We cannot rethink forever, but we have to give some time to the Brits to see what develops."

"The Liberal Democrats in the ALDE Party will be active and play a key role in the current process in the UK," Van Baalen added.

UK Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron said: "I am a democrat, I accept the outcome of elections if you lose, you must respect the people and what they say. It doesn't change the fact that I am utterly heart-broken."

"The Liberal Democrats in Britain will not give up, we will stand up at the next elections alone if need to be, as the only part in Britain who will say that Britain's place is in the European Union."

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