The top negotiator for the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has said Britons should be allowed to keep their EU benefits if they want them.
Verhofstadt, former Belgium prime minister, plans to persuade other European leaders that Britons should be allowed to apply for rights such as freedom of movement on an individual basis after Brexit.
The European Parliament has the power to veto any Brexit deal drawn up over the next two years, and Verhoftstadt will be a key player in influencing the EU's strategy.
Many UK citizens devastated their European identity is being taken away. I will fight for their voices to be heard https://t.co/xdKBPRiWzj— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 10, 2017
Speaking to the BBC Today Programme, Verhofstadt said:
All British citizens today have also EU citizenship. That means a number of things: the possibility to participate in the European elections, the freedom of travel without problem inside the union.
We need to have an arrangement in which this arrangement can continue to those citizens who on an individual basis are requesting it.
Many British citizens tell me they are also proud European citizens. False to suggest there is a trade-off. https://t.co/0XyszK78RN— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 10, 2017
The diplomat has previously struck a conciliatory tone over the negotiations, saying that the EU should be "open and generous" to people in the UK who want to maintain ties with their European neighbours.