Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) was appointed as European Parliament point man for Brexit negotiations on September 8. He will work with Michel Barnier, negotiator for the European Commission, to keep the Conference of Presidents (comprising the European Parliament President and group leaders) fully informed of developments and will help prepare the parliament’s position in the negotiations.
According to a European Parliament press release, the parliament will need to approve a possible agreement on the conditions for the UK’s departure from the EU.
Once article 50 of the EU Treaty has been triggered by the UK and the European Council has adopted the negotiation guidelines, Verhofstadt will also work closely with the Chair of the Constitutional Affairs committee, Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL), and other committees wherever necessary to shape the EP’s negotiating position.
Verhofstadt posted on Twitter: “Honour to be appointed as lead #Brexit negotiator for @Europarl_EN, which will play central role Art 50 deal + any future EU-UK agreements.”
In response to Verhofstadt’s appointment, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament, said all 751 MEPs should decide the parliament’s Brexit negotiator.
ECR leader Syed Kamall said: “It is not right that the President and a couple of men sitting in a back room can decide everything and foist it on the democratically elected representatives… If the parliament thinks that Guy Verhofstadt is the right person to represent it in the negotiations then that’s fair enough, but these backroom stitch-ups are disrespectful of the 747 other MEPs and their voters.”