The European Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator has mocked the UK and said it can only re-join the European Union (EU) on poorer terms, including being £4 billion-a-year worse off without the national rebate.
Guy Verhofstadt suggested the UK will need to radically diminish itself to undo the triggering of Article 50, as Alice in Wonderland, in the Lewis Carol book, had to shrink herself to fit through a tiny door, he said.
He also described Brexit as the “position of the Tories”, rather than the democratically expressed will of the British people, and said the UK should lose the Brussels budget rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984, and sovereignty “opt-outs” on borders and the euro.
“I know yesterday Emmanuel Macron spoke about an open door, he said if Britain is changing its mind it will find an open door,” he said to the EU Parliament. “I can say I don’t disagree with him. Like Alice in Wonderland, not all doors are the same.
“It will be a brand new door. A brand new door with a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real power and with unity. That is the door towards Europe.”
He also joked that there was only one “positive outcome” of the election, namely, “the disappearance of UKIP and of those who want not only Britain out of Europe but who want to destroy the EU from inside”.
I ask clarity from the British side on these five pressing questions ⬇ pic.twitter.com/5aaLlPSOM3
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) June 14, 2017
“We are impatiently waiting for the negotiating position of the UK gov. The current uncertainty cannot continue,” he added on Twitter, urging the UK government to take the general election result “into account” and not pursue a “hard Brexit”.
“Will the UK government confirm its existing position on the single market and the customs union?” he asked.
Continuing: “Is the populist illusion of restricting the free movement of people more important than the fortune of the British workers, the British industry, the British economy?”
His hard-line comments come amidst a diplomatic offensive involving German, French, and EU officials to force Theresa May to rethink her intentions to leave the Single Market and the bloc’s Customs Union.
In the UK, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, and members of other parties are also pushing for a so-called “soft Brexit” after the Conservatives lost their majority in Parliament.