GUY VERHOFSTADT has claimed he speaks on the behalf “ordinary citizens” in Europe as he demanded the UK hurry up and start Brexit talks.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator said he was growing impatient with Britain, as the decision to leave the bloc was creating “a lot of trouble”.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Verhofstadt said: “I don’t know if it is the responsibility of the UK Government.
“Whether the UK Government stick to the position the ‘hard’ Brexit described in the letter of March 29 or will they adapt that position because of the election, that is the responsibility of the UK Government.
“What I want, and what we want in Europe, is that we can stall this, the whole debate about the Brexit started three years ago, one year ago there was the result of the referendum, three months ago was the letter of March 29, starting Article 50 procedure, we are still not negotiating.”
The EU negotiator said Brexit needed to go ahead as soon as possible to end uncertainty across Europe.
Mr Verhofstadt said: “That cannot continue because the uncertainty for the citizens and the businesses has to stop as fast as possible.
“My impatience is mainly driven by the uncertainty that creates a lot of trouble for EU citizens, for UK citizens living on the Continent and for the businesses working on the Continent and in Britain.
“That’s the problem, my impatience is only the translation of the impatience of the ordinary citizens and businesses.
Earlier this week, Mr Verhofstadt urged Theresa May to change her negotiating stance towards the bloc as he said British voters rejected a ‘hard’ Brexit with last week’s election result.
The Brussels chief said he would prefer a “Norwegian style” relationship with the UK bemoaned the chaos caused by the PM’s shock loss of her majority.
He made the remarks as senior EU leaders lined up to attack Mrs May over her decision to call a snap election, which Brussels fears has torpedoed its chances of getting a Brexit deal.
Speaking in Strasbourg, he said: “I should welcome a position from the UK, either they confirm the letter of 29 March or they open the game in another direction.
“That’s their responsibility, what we welcome is that we see clarity on this in the coming days because the uncertainty cannot continue.
“In my humble opinion I think that one of the elements of the outcome of the election was certainly not a support of the hard Brexit, but if the British Government wants to take that into account in their position that’s their responsibility.
“From our side we have always welcomed a very close relationship in the future with the UK. We have even indicated that we preferred a Norwegian style relationship or even a customs union, that’s another possibility.
“But we have also indicated in such case we will never compromise on a number of conditions – citizens first, the four freedoms that are fully integrated in the single market, a fair financial settlement and the respect for an effective legal framework in this.”