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Not Good Enough! EU’s Verhofstadt Demands Easier Migration After Brexit, EU Court Power ‘Binding’ in UK

Little Englander
NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images

The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator has laid out five further Brexit demands, including two making it easier for migrants to come to Britain after the divorce.

Guy Verhofstadt, a former Prime Minister of Belgium and hardline Brexit opponent, was responding to the already controversial deal allowing Brexit talks to progress to trade, as the parliament he represents has a veto on any final Brexit deal.

His demands included two conditions pertaining to European Union (EU) migrants, one easing their passage to the UK after 2019, and one ensuring the continued power of EU courts in the UK.

Whilst conceding talks must now progress on to the next stage, he claimed five issues needed “to be tackled before an orderly withdrawal” in the European Parliament Friday.

Yet he also acknowledged the UK has so far caved in to many of the EU’s demands, including on the effect of EU law, which means an EU national living in the UK will be able to use the protections of European law in British courts, and on agreement to pay a huge divorce settlement.

“A lot of the requests that the parliament has put forward have been achieved,” he gloated.

On migration, he now wants EU nationals living in the UK to be able to bring their families and future spouses and partners to live with them, even if they meet after Brexit in 2019, or their children are conceived after the UK leaves the bloc.

He says entire families of migrants should be able to “initiate the procedure” of moving to the UK by filling out “one single” application form.

Furthermore, he called for a “light-touch… free of charge” procedure for EU citizens to register in the UK, placing the “burden of proof on the Home Office, on the UK authorities, to challenge the declaration”.

The UK has already promised numerous protections for EU migrants and a simplified process of applying to stay, with the Home Office stating: “We expect the majority of cases to be granted.”

Mr. Verhofstadt was also not satisfied with the language in the agreement on European courts and said he wanted guarantees that the power and “interpretation” of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Britain will be “binding”.

“There will be the direct effect of these rights in the UK, and in UK law… there is also a role for the ECJ and this opinion is binding inside the UK legal system,” he said.

He added: “It is crucial for us, on citizens’ rights, that all rights and all benefits will be covered… So no exceptions.”

Lastly, he wanted Britons living in the EU to have the freedom to move around the bloc and more details on how the issue of the Irish border would be settled.

“No hardening of the [Irish] border [and] a system of ‘regularity alignment’ will be in place,” he insisted.

Verhofstadt’s intervention comes just a day after he backed former EU president Martin Schulz’s call for a “United States of Europe” by 2025.

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