Alyn Smith welcomes appointment of Guy Verhofstadt as man Scotland "can do business with"

Scottish MEP hails former Belgium PM in EU Parliament’s lead negotiator role as "alive" to Scottish interests 

ALYN SMITH MEP has welcomed the appointment yesterday of Guy Verhofstadt as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on Brexit.

The contender for the SNP depute contest described his fellow MEP, who was also the former prime minister of Belgium, as a "pragmatic" person and someone who understands the political dynamic between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

He stated that, in his experience of working alongside Verhofstadt he anticipated plenty of scope for cooperation regarding Scotland's position within the European Union (EU).

"He has also proven he is alive to the Scottish question and I have every confidence all the doors we need are open." Alyn Smith

Alyn Smith MEP, said to CommonSpace: "Guy's appointment is good news - we can do business. He is a long-standing respected 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 has been a friend to Scotland in the immediate aftermath of 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."

"He is a long-standing respected MEP, having negotiated Belgian politics he will be able to corral 27 national interests and be pragmatic about finding solutions." Alyn Smith

Verhofstadt, has been notably hostile to Brexit and to showing leniency to the UK

After the UK’s shock vote to exit the EU in June he 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 membership with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

As reported by CommonSpace in July, he also publicly stated that there was "no big obstacle" to an independent Scotland being a full member state of the European Union.

As the negotiator for the European Parliament, he will work closely with Michel Barnier who was chosen this June by Jean Claude Junker to be the lead negotiator for the European Commission. 

Barnier himself as been referred to as "an enemy of Anglo Saxon capitalism", however members of the UK government have been quick to dismiss rumours of Barnier’s "natural hostility" to the UK.  
 
Picture courtesy of European Parliament 

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