Verhofstadt: Backstop prevents return of violence

Wednesday, 18. September 2019 10:17

A deal with the United Kingdom "is still possible," said Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator. Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday, he criticized the British government for the "bureaucratic" application process for the settled status of European Union citizens living there and demanded "automatic registration." The Irish backstop can be called "a safety net" and it's purpose is not economic but the main reason "is to make sure violence is not returning to the island of Ireland," the high-ranking diplomat stressed.

There was not one feasible alternative proposal from London so far, he added and claimed the administration in Brussels won't accept a veto option for the Northern Irish government, saying it would become "a permanent instrument for blackmailing."

Negotiators agreed to safeguard the rights of citizens on both sides but it wasn't achieved, according to the Belgian official from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), who said people living in the UK for a decade or more are struggling with the procedure.

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