UK citizens could pay to retain EU perks, says top negotiator

Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by March


Afp November 26, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

LONDON:

Britons wanting to retain benefits of European Union membership after the country leaves could pay Brussels for individual citizenship, European Parliament's lead Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt told The Times on Saturday.


"Many say 'we don't want to cut our links'," the former Belgian prime minister told The Times. "I like the idea that people who are European citizens and saying they want to keep it have the possibility of doing so. As a principle I like it."


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Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by March, setting the ball rolling on two-years of negotiations to set the terms of the divorce.


Trade and immigration are set to be the key issues, with European leaders saying they will not compromise on open borders within the bloc. Brexit-supporting MP Andrew Bridgen accused Verhofstadt of trying to sow division in Britain.


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"It's an attempt to create two classes of UK citizen and to subvert the referendum vote," he told the Times.


"The truth is that Brussels will try every trick in the book to stop us leaving."

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