Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed the appointment of Guy Verhofstadt MEP as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on Brexit.
Verhofstadt, a highly influential MEP and former Prime Minister of Belgium, memorably tweeted “It’s wrong that Scotland might be taken out of [the] EU when it voted to stay” and declared he would be happy to discuss this with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Days later, he publicly stated that there was “no big obstacle” to an independent Scotland being a full member state of the European Union.
Guy Verhofstadt will help to prepare the European Parliament’s position in the Brexit negotiations, and update the Conference of Presidents, comprised of the European Parliament President Martin Schulz and the Parliamentary group leaders.
"Guy's appointment is good news - we can do business. He is a long-standing credible MEP, having negotiated Belgian politics he will be able to corral 27 national interests and be pragmatic about finding solutions. He has also proven he is alive to the Scottish question and I have every confidence all the doors we need are open.
"Guy Verhofstadt was a friend to Scotland after the EU referendum, stating publicly that it was wrong for Scotland to be taken out of the EU when we voted to stay, and making sure our First Minister knew he was happy to meet with her to discuss this further.
"He's a clever chap, very astute, and a hard worker capable of seeing the big picture. I look forward to working with him in the European Parliament over the coming months."