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 Full text 
Tuesday, 22 October 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019 (debate)

  Guy Verhofstadt (Renew). – Madam President, first of all, I want to say to Mr Van Orden that I am honoured that you compared me with Mr Bercow. It’s in any way better than to be compared with Mr Rees-Mogg, because Mr Bercow’s ties are more colourful. I like them more than those of Mr Rees-Mogg.

I want to thank the Conference of Presidents that they have confirmed that the consent procedure in this House will only start after the full ratification by the side of the United Kingdom and that’s important, that was in our resolutions. I think we need to use the time between now and the consent vote to solve the last problems that still exist today which are the rights of the EU citizens that are living in the UK. There are still a number of problems to be solved. There is the vulnerable citizens – 200 000 of them who are in need of assistance. There is those who will miss the deadline, and there one of the members of the UK government has said, oh, we’re going to do deportation. Well, I can tell you this problem needs to be solved in all clarity before, that there is no deportation of these people. There is the difference between a settled status and pre-settled status. What is, in my opinion, not always clear why people are in pre-settled stages are not in settled status with full rights. And there is the Independent Monitoring Authority. It’s not clear in the withdrawal bill how independent the Independent Monitoring Authority will be and we have to be sure that it is a real Independent Monitoring Authority. So, before the House will give consent, I want to see this problem solved. We don’t want that the EU citizens become victims in another Windrush scandal in Britain. That cannot happen.

Finally, I want to use this intervention also to say some positive things about Jean-Claude Juncker, but already he is not there and especially to Donald Tusk, I want thank him for the cooperation. We never had words with each other during these five years in the debates and I wanted to wish him all the luck in his upcoming challenges, somewhere in a big country in the East of Europe. Good luck Donald.

Last updated: 5 November 2019Legal notice