Guy Verhofstadt: Young people will take UK back into the EU

European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt during the Liberal Democrats autumn confer

European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Guy Verhofstadt has said that the young people in the UK will lead to a rejoining of the European Union in the not so distant future.

The European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, appearing on Radio 4's Today programme, agreed with fellow guest Labour MEP Seb Dance who argued that the UK was taking a "sabbatical" from the EU and would be back in the future.

"I think that will happen, yes, (but) it's difficult to say when," said the chairman of the EU's Brexit Steering Group.

"There will be a generation, the young generation coming in the coming decades, who will say later 'we want to go back'.

"It will happen. Maybe you will not see it in my life, but it will happen."

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Verhofstadt also confirmed that plans for an "associate" membership of the EU are still being pushed for, a move that would allow Britons to sign up to be citizens of the EU even after Brexit.

"My idea is that the European Union and European citizenship has to be possible for the European living somewhere else in the world," he said.

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Brexiteer Daniel Hannan, also on the programme, said he supported holding another referendum in the future to test the prediction.

"Maybe I'm wrong," said the Conservative MEP, after disagreeing with Verhofstadt's thoughts.

"I'm perfectly happy to have another referendum in a generation's time and let people decide."

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Verhofstadt also revealed that in his meeting with the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay the government had conceded over allowing EU citizens to have a hard copy of their settled status confirmation.

Those who have been successful in claiming settled status were previously told to use a screenshot of their confirmation on their mobile phone as proof.

He said: "They said we are going to look at it so people can print it so they have a physical document.

"People will have the opportunity to have a printout, probably a PDF document.

"That was the conclusion of our conversation."

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