As EU leaders try to iron out differences and strike a deal to keep Britain in the bloc, euronews spoke to Guy Verhofstadt, Leader of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, and former Belgian prime minister.
I think British citizens know very well, understand very well, that Britain without the European Union is in fact a dwarf on the world level
Efi Koutsokosta, euronews: “What should we expect in today’s and tomorrow’s meeting regarding Brexit?”
Guy Verhofstadt: “I think we are going to have an agreement between the European leaders, and it is good that we are going to have an agreement because that can avoid that Britain is leaving the European Union, because that should be a very bad thing, maybe the only one laughing would be Vladimir Putin, because he wants a Brexit, he likes a divided and weak Europe.
“So I think that with this deal we are preparing for the moment, we can avoid this.”
euronews: “But should the EU leaders give in to what Mr Cameron and Britons ask. Maybe later other member states could ask the same?”
Guy Verhofstadt: “No it is a specific solution for the request of Britain and my proposal and the proposal of the European Parliament is to give a special status to Britain, because that we have had that discussion for three decades.
“So it is time to solve it and to give a special status to Britain as they are asking for, and so that the other members of the EU can go forward in their integration because we need more integration, desperately, to solve the refugee crisis, to solve the security crisis, to strengthen our position on the geopolitical level, the problems with the euro.
“So I think it can be a win win situation. Let’s give this special status to Britain and at the same time let’s make an agreement in the future with the Treaty change, the Treaty revision, we go forward on the integration of the Union.”
euronews: And what if the British citizens say finally no?
Guy Verhofstadt: “I am an optimist, I think that they are going to say yes, because they are not so stupid, to give up, first of all, the European Union which is economically important for them, and the City of London for example lives from the payments in euros, more than from the payments in pounds sterling.
“And secondly I think foremost geopolitically, I think British citizens know very well, understand very well, that Britain without the European Union is in fact a dwarf on the world level.
“And the same is true for the European Union, the European Union without Britain is certainly not a strong continent that can compete with China, with Russia, with the US and other powers.”