and nominated a conservativejudge to fill the vacancy on the us supreme court. neil gorsuch, from the denver federal appeals court, is 49. if confirmed by the senate, he could sit for decades. president trump said judge gorsuch had impeccable qualifications and would strictly uphold the constitution. in a sharply divided country there's been a mixed reaction to the nomination, campaigners for women's and lgbtq rights have been protesting outside the court in washington. the new head of homeland security in the us has been defending president trump's executive order temporarily banning travellers from seven muslim—majority countries. generaljohn kelly insisted the extreme—vetting policy was not simply a ban on muslims. it has led to widespread confusion and protests around the world. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i am stephen
sackur. just how ugly is britain's divorce from the eu going to be, and how damaging for the unhappy couple? as british mps debate the formal triggering of the effort says, my guest is an eu politician who will be at the heart of the complex negotiations over a brexit deal. belgium's former prime minister and current mep guy verhofstadt has warned britain to expect no favours as it heads for the expert, but how confrontational is he prepared to be? guy verhofstadt, welcome to
hardtalk. i want to talk about brexit with you but i don't want to start with the detail, i want to start with the detail, i want to start with the contest. when the british public voted for brexit on june 23, 2016 barack obama british public voted for brexit on june 23,2016 barack obama was president of the united states. now the white house is occupied by donald trump. to what extent do you think this fundamental shift in global politics, the most important power in the world after all, how important is that as a change context for brexit? i think it gives an opportunity for the european side to show and to work on more unity, because lets be honest, what trump has said since now in a few days and weeks is very hostile towards europe and he is saying openly that he
thinks that europe could disintegrate further. he thinks more european members of the eu will follow britain out of the door and he thinks it is a good thing. he thinks it is a good thing to have a disintegrated european union while i think it is quite the opposite. in fa ct think it is quite the opposite. in fact the interest of the americans isn't in a disintegrated europe. the interest in america is to have a very united european ally. you can only walk on two legs. trump needs an american lake and a european leg. whatever your sceptical view of donald trump as president and as an individual, the fact is the european union needs to be closely allied with the united states of america, it isa with the united states of america, it is a pillar of european security policy. that is what he is putting in danger. with respect, so are you. some of the things you have said are actually extraordinary. you have said, you said this yesterday, i am quoting you, "under the enormous political influence of trump's
political influence of trump's political adviser stephen bannon, he sent people to berlin and paris to prepare the ground for similar referendum as that seen in britain." yes, exactly. well, what evidence, you have set essentially he is taking active steps to undermine the european union. stephen bannon, eve ryo ne european union. stephen bannon, everyone knows it is an extreme right—wing newspaper he is promoting. in fact, right—wing newspaper he is promoting. infact, extreme right—wing radical views. promoting. infact, extreme right-wing radicalviews. it promoting. infact, extreme right-wing radical views. it is promoting. infact, extreme right-wing radicalviews. it is not the drum administration. you are saying hostile things about this.” am surprised you have said it is not the trump administration. mr bannon has been appointed as a member of the national security council of the us. even outside... you said something that is happening at a news website. i think it is maybe not the trump administration, but mr
stephen bannon, the special adviser of donald trump. we can discuss the influence of mr bannon on mr trump, what i see is what mr trump is saying. crosstalk his quotes have been very clear. so i yours. i hope to be clear. that is why i am in politics. normally you have the politics of politicians may be here who are trying to escape the question. imo statements try never to escape the question. yes, lets think about your choice of words. to escape the question. yes, lets think about your choice of wordsm makes it boring, maybe. it makes it fascinating. my view, you say, is we have a third front undermining the eu and that is donald trump. it is a word i am coming back to, hostility. you are downright hostile to what... iam not you are downright hostile to what... i am not saying i am you are downright hostile to what... iam not saying i am not you are downright hostile to what... i am not saying i am not hostile. i am only seeing and hearing what mr trump is saying. 0k, let me is plain maybe. i think we have first of all
the treachery in europe and a radical islam, jihadists, secondly we have a threat by putin, the autocrat in the kremlin who tries to divide europe, already years from now, and now we have an american president who is not longer seeing the american unity, the american unity as a pillar for his foreign policy. and he is saying openly that he hopes for a disintegration of the european union. so i think we are very much alone. i think we are for the moment in an existential moment for the european union and i hope that my response to this is that only european unity can be the answer. i am mindful you only european unity can be the answer. i am mindfulyou havejust written this book... that is my book about it. europe's last chance, why the european states, the subtitle, must form a european union. ironically it is a phrase from the american constitution. yes, exactly.
it will be difficult right now to persuade europeans that they should regard as a model the federal united states of america, but that is obviously... it is about donald trump now. donald trump is the same as the american institutions. what i have seen is america after the financial crisis was capable to react immediately to the financial crisis. the cleaning up of the banks, the investment programme, quantitative easing. well, if i banks, the investment programme, quantitative easing. well, ifi look to europe, we are not a union, in fa ct. to europe, we are not a union, in fact. what we are is a loose confederation of nationstates still based on unanimity and we are always acting too little too late, for example, in the financial crisis, in migration... so this book is even more eurosceptic than all the eurosceptic books that have been published in the united kingdom. you think the formulation doesn't work. it cannot survive. you made an interesting point about the importance of nationstates. what
donald trump is, at a validly a self—confessed american nationalists, america first is his message and that is a nationalists message, it is echoed across europe in different nationstates where politicians are winning with a nationalists message —— avowedly. politicians are winning with a nationalists message —— avowedlym is not echoed. it is the opposite. it was first born in europe. nationalism has been born in europe. nationalism has been born in europe. nationalism has been born in europe. nationalism has not been bought outside europe. more than that, i think it is a tricky thing which is happening. that is that an american president is bidding on more nationalism in europe. you know what it means, it is not nationalists based on values, it is nationalism based on values, it is nationalism based on values, it is nationalism based on ethnicity. and what nationalism has done in the last 100 yea rs nationalism has done in the last 100 years in europe, we all know it! 20 million victims, all of this is based on nationalism. so an american president thinking, european unity is not necessary, let's go back to
national identity, ideas of nationalism. that is playing with fire in europe. this is not america. this is europe. we have the holocaust, we had... well, you can...| holocaust, we had... well, you can... ithink it is a holocaust, we had... well, you can... i think it is a fair argument. you can cite the events of the 1930s and 19405 at argument. you can cite the events of the 19305 and 19405 at me but let's stick with what happened today. yes, but it can come back. let's look at the context of brexit. i come back to the basic point about the situation today in europe. you have just seem to reason in the white house with donald trump talking about the state fa5t alliance between britain and europe. you've heard donald trump saying that he is going to seek a very quick trade deal with britain. talking in the mo5t deal with britain. talking in the most positive term5 about britain po5t brexit. it weakens your hand as an eu negotiator, doe5 po5t brexit. it weakens your hand as an eu negotiator, does it not, that britain is now looking at history close relationship with donald trump. i am not reasoning in those term5 because i know that the interest of the uk is more in europe
than in the us. you know the figures. you know the figures. 44% of the export5 figures. you know the figures. 44% of the exports of britain goe5 figures. you know the figures. 44% of the exports of britain goes to the continent, to europe. 0nly12% goe5 the continent, to europe. 0nly12% goes to the us. so whatever trade agreement is made between the us and the uk, the main interest of the british industry, the british companies, workers and citizens 5it5 in europe. it is in europe. and so the5e in europe. it is in europe. and so these negotiations will be very important. and i am very open about it. i think that fairness is the ba5ic it. i think that fairness is the basic principle we need to apply in the5e basic principle we need to apply in these negotiations. so when theresa may says, alongside donald trump, that, as you, she said to donald, a5 you renew your nation, we renew ours, you renew your nation, we renew our5, the opportunity is here to renew the special relationship, the po5t eu britain and trump's america will lead again, your response is? my will lead again, your response is? my response was yesterday industry i5 my response was yesterday industry is wonderful, i think, i my response was yesterday industry is wonderful, ithink, i have my response was yesterday industry is wonderful, i think, i have seen thousands and thousands of people
not agree with this —— in the street i5 not agree with this —— in the street is wonderful. i don't agree in the rhetorical or the narrative of trump. i think it is devastating. al5o trump. i think it is devastating. also for the american economy. protectionism, that is also part of his narrative, how you can make an agreement between the uk, which is an open 5ociety who believes in trade, i think, an open 5ociety who believes in trade, ithink, and an open 5ociety who believes in trade, i think, and on the other hand an american president who is seeing every trade deficit with whatever country as a threat. and there is a trade deficit from the us towards the uk. so, good luck with it. i think it is more interesting for the uk authorities to work together on a fair partnership with the european union because that is the european union because that is the biggest market for the british industry. and i want to tease out what you mean by a fair partnership ina what you mean by a fair partnership in a moment but before we get to the details on more specific point which i think ari5e5
details on more specific point which i think arises out of what we see in the united states and what we heard from theresa may and that is a question about security. we will get to economics. 0n 5ecurity, question about security. we will get to economics. 0n security, you know as well as i do that britain has been a linchpin of europeans of 5ecurity, been a linchpin of europeans of security, the armed forces, intelligence services are superior to most in europe, if you talk to people in germany, poland, the baltic republic, they say we need a close security relationship with britain come what may, whether brexit happens or not. that is also my point. i think we have to discuss not only the economic partnership between the uk and european union. it will be necessary, be5ide5 between the uk and european union. it will be necessary, besides that also, to talk about internal and external 5ecurity. what i don't want -it external 5ecurity. what i don't want —itis external 5ecurity. what i don't want — it is not my position... leverage to the uk. in a minute. it is what i wa nt to to the uk. in a minute. it is what i want to say. i don't want a trade—off between the economic di5cu55ion trade—off between the economic discussion we will do and on the other hand the question of internal— external 5ecurity. other hand the question of internal— external security. i don't think we
can makea external security. i don't think we can make a trade deal between... germany has already indicated... ye5, germany has already indicated... yes, but let's be honest the important thing to do on the security issue from the european side is to create a european defence union a5 side is to create a european defence union as fast as possible. you know the figures. if you don't have britain it would devalue... you know the figures, 4% we spend on military. we are only capable to do 10%-12% of the military. we are only capable to do 10%— 12% of the operations of the american army. i am no mathematician. i am a lawyer. i know it means, these figures, we are three orfour time5 it means, these figures, we are three or four times less effective. and why are we le55 three or four times less effective. and why are we less effective first remark we don't have a european defence community. we dedicate everything 28 times between the 28 member states. i think this whole di5cu55ion member states. i think this whole discussion on security, internal and external, i5 discussion on security, internal and external, is a good chance to create finally what we needed to already do decades ago, that is to create a european defence union. right, well... european defence union. right, well. . . that european defence union. right, well... that is also in the book.
let's get to the nitty—gritty of negotiating a complex deal with the uk hone5t departure from the european union. just very quickfire practical questions. you said reasonably you thought getting a trade deal in the two years timeframe wa5 trade deal in the two years timeframe was impossible. you stick to that? i think it is impossible. everybody knows it is impossible. they don't think it is impossible in london. if you speak with mini5ter5 they think it is entirely possible. it is 40 - 50 they think it is entirely possible. it is 40 — 50 month. it is not two years. it is 40 — 50 month. it is not two yea r5. at it is 40 — 50 month. it is not two years. at the end of the process, before 2018, we need a consent procedure in the european parliament because it has to give the green light for the final agreement. so we are going to start at the end of may, beginning ofjune, that gives us may, beginning ofjune, that gives u5a may, beginning ofjune, that gives us a timeframe of 14 or 15 months. what can you do in this timeframe? i think a withdrawal agreement is the first thing to do. not an easy thing ican first thing to do. not an easy thing i can tell you. to put it in common pa rla nce i can tell you. to put it in common parlance it is the divorce
agreement. for the relationship it i5 agreement. for the relationship it is the divorce. then you have to define the new relationship in general terms. there define the new relationship in generalterms. there is define the new relationship in general terms. there is debate about whether the sets of negotiations, one on the divorce arrangements and one on the divorce arrangements and one on the new relationship. take the treaty, article 50 i5 one on the new relationship. take the treaty, article 50 is clear. it 5ay5, the treaty, article 50 is clear. it says, first of all, start with your withdrawal agreement in the light of the framework of the future relationship. so you need to have an idea, not more than that, about your to continue... for example, there is an fta, it will take eight years. how many years in your opinion?” think the whole period of transition and the period of transition will be two yea r5. and the period of transition will be two years. besides the two years, we have the 14 or 15 months i'm talking about, you will need a whole tran5ition about, you will need a whole transition period about, you will need a whole tra nsition period to about, you will need a whole transition period to conclude what will be the final agreement with the
uk. that's a realistic timeframe. there are cracks appearing it seems to me in the eu position on some of the key fundamental po5ition5 to me in the eu position on some of the key fundamental positions of a negotiating deal. use 5aid the key fundamental positions of a negotiating deal. use said the four freedoms that underpin the single market, they're not going to ever be negotiated on and there will be no cherry picking. 0ther5 negotiated on and there will be no cherry picking. others have sent 5ignals suggesting there can be sector by sector deal5 which wild britain leaves the single market will allow britain preferential access to certain sectors of that 5ingle access to certain sectors of that single market. is that possible? they will be no cherry picking, nobody of the three institutions of the eu will accept that. mrs may has indicated she wants to go out of the union, the single market, the customs union, the court ofju5tice and then say, that is a new programme that interests me and that i5a programme that interests me and that is a sector that interests me, that will not happen, 5orry, because then 5he will not happen, 5orry, because then she has to take the obligations and the payments linked to these
advantages. you can never create a status outside the european union which is more advantageous than to being a member of the european union. it would not be fair towards the members of the eu and our taxpayers. you want to believe there can be no cherry picking but others have sent a different message. even mr barnier, who is with all due re5pect more important to the negotiations than you because he is negotiating on behalf... he is negotiating on behalf... he is negotiating and we have to approve his negotiations. he is a negotiator and according to a leak the guardian got hold of, he told meps that there needed to be a special relationship between big finance and the city of london. that has been denied two time5 london. that has been denied two times by mr barnier. in the nature of politics he had to deny it because it was an authorised to lick. i was in that meeting and he never said it was a conference of committee chairs of the european parliament. he never said that. be
a55ured parliament. he never said that. be assured of one thing, cherry picking, we shall not allow. when the german car industry pleads with the german car industry pleads with the german car industry pleads with the german government and says, be real, i'm quoting the head of the federation of german industry, imposing trade barriers and protectionist measures between the eu and britain or the two political centres, the eu on one hand, the uk on the other, would be a very foolish thing to do. that's a german—speaking. foolish thing to do. that's a german-speaking. i agree with all this, i'm against protectionism myself but that's not the point. it's not a point about protectionism. the point is, if, for example, i think that is still the be5t example, i think that is still the best option, the uk should ask for... to be part of the single market, to continue to be part of the single market, at the same time accepting the four freedoms of the european union. the problem doesn't start with the european union, the problem starts with the uk government saying the freedom of movement of people inside the
european union, we don't like it because there are poli5h people coming to work on a construction site in london, we don't like it. i think that these people are very necessary in the uk economy. you know what the labour mobility in europe is? 1%. you know what the labour mobility in the us is? 10%. ten time5 labour mobility in the us is? 10%. ten times bigger. 0ne labour mobility in the us is? 10%. ten times bigger. one of the reasons we have 2 million vacancies in britain and europe is because we don't have enough labour mobility. isn't the truth, mr verhofstadt, you ta ke isn't the truth, mr verhofstadt, you take the position you take, no cherry picking, no negotiating on the sector deals, you take that position because you're deeply insecure. you worry if britain is seen to get a deal that works for britain and makes the british economy 5ucce55ful britain and makes the british economy successful that it will encourage others in europe to follow britain to the exit door. you're deeply in5ecure about the fragility of the european union. the problem of the european union. the problem of the european union. the problem of the future of the european union
i5 of the future of the european union is not so much linked to brexit negotiations, the problem of the future of the european union is linked to the courage and willingness of the european leaders for the moment to go forward, like i described in the book, with the unity and integration of the european union, a defence community and economic governance for the 5ingle and economic governance for the single currency, and extort border and coastguard so the future of the european union in depends on that. not so much on brexit. you've been writing books about the need for a federal europe for a long time. europa united states of europe in 2006. as prime minister. you wrote another book in 2009 called how europe can save the world emerging from cri5i5. you have written the5e book5, from cri5i5. you have written the5e books, which now looked like mu5eum pieces, the world has moved on, europe has moved on. it's no more about union and federation. it's the opposite that is happening, you are laughing a bit about my books but at the same time i was the one who said
we need a banking union before we can overcome the financial crisis. you agree that the banking union is now in place. how europe can save the world was your title in 2009. frankly europe has done nothing to save the world in the last seven years. we didn't have the institutions on a european level that were necessary. i explained, we are still a loose confederation of nation states based on the unanimity rule where we act too little too late. i have described the financial cri5i5 late. i have described the financial crisis as a typical example of that andi crisis as a typical example of that and i said we need a banking union and i said we need a banking union and today we have a banking union. you laughed at me as prime minister when i proposed a number of initiatives for the defence union. today these initiatives, european headquarters, are on the table. when you talk like this, mr verhofstadt, you talk like this, mr verhofstadt, you play into the hands of people like nigel farage, one of the key leave campaigners, who says you are a dangerous fanatic and you have
long anti— briti5h. a dangerous fanatic and you have long anti- british. that is complete nonsense. i am racing with an old car, it is a 1954 right hand drive a5ton car, it is a 1954 right hand drive aston martin, how can you be more british than that? i'll tell you, look at your own words, i wonder about your attitude to britain. you 5aid about your attitude to britain. you said in 2015 according to politico, the website," politically the uk is already on its way to becoming an adversary rather than a trusted partner of the eu". certainly that i5 partner of the eu". certainly that is what mr farage i5 partner of the eu". certainly that is what mr farage is exactly standing for. these are your words. when i am attacking him i am attacking not britain, i am attacking not britain, i am attacking somebody who wants to destroy the european union. europe is on its way to becoming an adversary, is that the way you feel about the uk? absolutely not, what i hope is we can find a fair partnership with people like mr farage, at the heart of the brexit
campaign and looking to destroy the european union, that's my problem and that is what i will fight. the thing is, it's notjust about britain. win you said of the brexit campaign, you described it as the latest high mass of tribalism in europe. it isn't just latest high mass of tribalism in europe. it isn'tjust actually in britain where people are expressing great scepticism about the european union, great scepticism about immigration and its effect on europe. you could look at le pen in france and geert wilders in the netherlands. the gap poland, look at hungary, so many nations across the european union —— look at.” hungary, so many nations across the european union -- look at. i don't deny these people exist and i don't agree with these people but i can tell you one thing, the public opinion in our countries on the continent in the eu is not against europe, they are against this european union. that's why i'm saying this book is maybe more eurosceptic than all other books that have been published because i think this european union will not
survive. what you need to do to convince people who are voting today voting for le pen offering a vision for the future, showing them unity for the future, showing them unity for europe can tackle the financial crisis, the economic fallout of it, the migration flows, refugees coming to europe. security issues as well. you have been peddling the federalist dream for ten years, at what point do you realise it's a dream and not a reality? the banking union today is a reality because we have pushed for it. i also think tomorrow the european defence union will be a reality because the world is changing and we cannot count on mrtrump. so it is changing and we cannot count on mr trump. so it will arrive. ic four example what is happening in france, the french presidency, macron, you're following it, what he is saying about europe, a french president saying we don't find sovereignty on a national level, we need it on a european level. let say
a frenchman was saying that, you need to invite him on as soon as possible. we will get you back to discuss the state of brexit in a few months or years time. but right now we have to end there guy verhofstadt, thank you for being on hardtalk. it is really soggy outside right now, especially in eastern areas of the uk. many of us had the worst of the rain hours ago, but through the early hours of wednesday it is just going to stay damp wherever you are across the uk. talking a little bit about the future, we'll see more storms forming across the atlantic, coming out of the us and moving across the atlantic and heading in our direction. lots of cloud, lots happening and i think towards the end of the week that's when we are a little bit concerned that there is some severe weather heading our way. in the short term we have the rain across eastern areas, so this is 6am—8am. notice how some northern and western areas brighten up a little bit later in the afternoon and then it will probably go downhill again,
a second time, across the south—west and wales. but in southampton, 0xfordshire, around here, birmingham, into manchester, the north—west, a little bit of sunshine. the far east again cloudy again, with rain. little bits and pieces of rain in northern ireland and then brighter, a little bit drier and brighter, across scotland. so a real messy picture across the uk on wednesday. be prepared for sunshine, well, be prepared for the rain, but expect a little bit of sunshine. how is the rest of europe doing compared to us? well, it will turn very unsettled from spain, into france and the uk. all these weather systems will be piling into western parts of europe, quieter across the mediterranean and certainly quieter across central parts of europe, the east as well. here is a closer look at the nasty weather system. this will probably bring windy weather to ireland and western parts of the uk.
southern coasts have gales in many areas and some outbreaks of rain. so a blustery, wet day. this is the first big low. quite mild, but it won't feel like it in the wind. once the big low starts pulling away, another smaller but more intense weather system is going to develop. this one could do one of two things. it could either be quite nasty still and move into france. this will probably be less severe for us. and the other scenario is that this will probably affect south—western areas and track towards the north. this is the more likely one, colours are there to distinguish between the two tracks. right now this is what it looks like. rain and severe gales in the south—western areas, but stay tuned to weather updates. hello. you're watching bbc world news. i'm adnan nawaz. our top story this hour: donald trump makes one of the most significant decisions of his presidency. he has nominated neil gorsuch
to fill the vacancy on the us supreme court. judge gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support. the mainstream conservative, formerly a federal appealsjudge, will become one of the youngest to serve on the supreme court, if he's confirmed by the senate. welcome to the programme. our other main stories this hour: saudi arabia says it looks forward to working with president trump's "pro—oil and gas" administration. we have an exclusive interview with the saudi 0il minister.