"Brexit is a sideshow. The common future of the 27 is what counts.", Guy Verhofstadt
During today's debate on Commission - President Juncker's white paper on the future of Europe, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt called on his colleagues not to make Brexit a defensive exercise: "We shouldn’t focus on the negative story of one country leaving us, but on the optimistic prospect of building a new common destiny for the 27."
Addressing Juncker directly, Verhofstadt said: “I think you are right when you say the first three scenarios aren’t really an option and we should go ahead with scenario four or five: doing things more efficiently and doing more together. We desperately need a European solution to the migrant crisis, we need to expand our internal market to the digital and energy sectors, and we need to build European capacities to stabilise our neighbourhood and to keep Europe safe."
"What we absolutely should avoid is going further down the path of ‘Europe à la carte’, with opt-outs and exemptions for everyone. Europe today is a union of ‘too little, too late’ because we are a loose confederation of nation states paralysed by the unanimity rule. If we want Europe to work again, we need more unity. This is what our founding fathers had in mind: Jean Monnet, Paul-Henri Spaak and yes, Winston Churchill who led the pro-European fight in Britain.”
To start the rebuilding of the European Union, Verhofstadt said the Commission, Parliament and Council should join forces: "We need an inter-institutional reflection - like we had with the Monti Group, with representatives from the three institutions, because the Commission cannot do this on its own."