19:51 GMT28 February 2020
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    Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and serving MEP, said “Citizens can never become the victims of Brexit”. The group leader of the Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament also said that the EU should “grant UK citizens living in Europe” the rights they currently have.

    Speaking at the European Parliament on 18 December Mr Guy Verhofstad, a well-known liberal Belgian MEP, said that the EU is not bound to accept a future Brexit deal from the UK. Verhofstadt said that "since the elections in Britain, hundreds and hundreds of letters have been received" from British citizens who live in Europe "panicking about their status".
    The former prime minister of Belgium forcefully argued that he thinks the EU "needs to solve that before giving consent to a Brexit treaty."
    Verhofstads stressed that in his opinion "British or Europeans alike" should never be "the victims" of Brexit which he argued was a "not very intelligent choice".
    On the same day via Twitter, Verhofstads argued in favour of 'automatically' granting 'full rights' to Brits living on the continent:


    ​He then made “an appeal” to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to “be generous in your victory."

    "Grant to all EU citizens the full rights as they have today. Automatically. To all of them. No ‘ifs and buts’.”

    Verhofstads also took a jibe at UKIP co-founder and long-time MEP Nigel Farage:

    According to the Oxford Migration Observatory, the UK deported more than twice as many EU citizens from 2013 to 2017, for breaches of freedom of movement rules or criminal offences. The Observatory said this occurred in the years immediately proceeding the Brexit referendum in 2016, as well as just after it. That number dropped in 2018 to its lowest levels since 2014. 

    ​The Conservative Party, which won a large majority in the UK’s recent general elections, campaigned on the slogan “Get Brexit done”.


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