Mr Verhofstadt, who has frequently criticised the UK’s approach to the Brexit negotiations, praised the Prime Minister for “finally” conceding that the UK will need a transition period after it officially withdraws from the EU in March 2019 but said in order for it to work the UK could not “cherry pick” which parts of EU membership they wanted to keep.
He said this means “a new registration mechanism for EU citizens going to live and/or work in the UK is out of the question”.
His comments followed a speech given by Ms May in Florence, Italy where she fleshed out the UK’s negotiating position on Brexit.
She said the UK would have to agree to a transition deal with the rest of the EU will it hashes out the details of its exit.
Currently the UK is scheduled to crash out of the EU, lose access to its markets and revert to trading under World Trade Organisation rules in March 2019 if the two sides cannot reach an agreement.
But Ms May has now said the UK will work to make sure there are transitory arrangements in place to help businesses and institutions make the transition to being outside the EU much easier – but repeated the rallying cry of many arch-Brexiteers in the Cabinet who claim “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
She proposed that people from the EU would still be allowed to come to live and work in the UK during this transition period but they would be subject to “a registration system” – which she said was “an essential preparation for the new regime”.
Writing on Facebook, Mr Verhofstadt said: “The European Parliament has made it very clear from the beginning that for us it is: citizens first. We need to be very cautious, and I want to see how, next week, when the negotiations resume, the UK government intends to guarantee that the rulings of the European…