Lead EU negotiator on Brexit: no compromise on EU principles

BRUSSELS – A lead EU negotiator on Britain’s departure from the European Union says the bloc would disintegrate if it bargains away the principle of free movement of its citizens.

EU lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt says the principles of free movement of goods, capital, services and people cannot be watered down or traded against each other.

Britain would like to limit immigration of EU citizens but keep access to Europe’s tariff-less common market. The EU has long insisted Britain cannot be part of the common market if it blocks EU workers.

Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative in Brexit talks, emphasized Tuesday the need to not divide those principles. He said that “if you start to make a split between them you destroy, in fact, the Union.”