October 2, 2019 / 6:19 PM / 2 months ago

EU's Verhofstadt says initial reaction to UK proposals 'not positive'

FILE PHOTO: ALDE President and Former Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt arrives at an ALDE party meeting ahead of a EU leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt said his initial reaction to Brexit proposals set out by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were not positive, and thought they were possibly designed to shift blame on to Brussels if talks fail.

Verhofstadt, head of the Brexit Steering Group which coordinates the European Parliament over Brexit, said the group would set out a more detailed response on Thursday.

“I can tell you that the first reaction of the Brexit Steering Group was not positive, not positive in the sense that we don’t think that this is really the safeguards that Ireland needs,” he told reporters.

Asked by a reporter if the proposal was a serious attempt to break the deadlock or designed to shift the blame onto Brussels if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, he said: “I think that last point was not so bad”.

Reporting by Kate Holton in London; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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