EP negotiator wants Brexit talks to end by 2019
By Eszter Zalan
The chief negotiator for the European Parliament (EP) urged the UK to trigger the exit talks as soon as possible and said negotiations should reach an end by 2019.
Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt told journalists Tuesday that he "cannot not imagine that we start a new legislative cycle without an agreement, and that we enter a new legislative cycle with no solution".
Dear EUobserver reader
Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.
Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.
- Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
- All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
- EUobserver archives
EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.
♡ We value your support.
If you already have an account click here to login.
The next EP elections will take place in 2019.
"The UK should trigger the Article 50 as soon as possible so that we can finalise these negotiations by 2019," Verhofstadt told a news conference in Strasbourg.
The liberal leader recalled that the EP needs to give its consent to the final exit agreement with the UK, that is why it is important that the EP is already part of the negotiations.
He said the EP's red lines in negotiations will be decided by the conference of presidents – group leaders and the EP president – and the EP's plenary.
The former Belgian prime minister warned London that the EP's position is that the UK could only keep access to the single market by accepting the free movement of all European Union citizens into Britain.
British prime minister Theresa May has said she will not trigger Article 50 until early 2017 at the earliest.
On the EU's part, the negotiations will be led by the member states, despite the EU Commission's efforts to play the main role in the talks.