British citizens should be allowed to keep the benefits of EU membership, according to the chief Brexit negotiator at the European Parliament.
Guy Verhofstadt said a system is needed for individuals to keep rights, such as freedom to travel and voting in European elections.
The former prime minister of Belgium said Brexit had been a “tragedy” for people in the UK and EU.
He also warned the European Parliament had veto powers over any deal struck.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Verhofstadt said he had received more than 1,000 letters from UK citizens who did not want to lose their relationship with “European civilisation”.
He 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 for those citizens who on an individual basis are requesting it.”
He now hopes to convince European leaders to agree on this.
But Mr Verhofstadt also warned that the European Parliament will have veto powers to reject any deal brokered between the UK and the European Commission on Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March, which would pave the way for Brexit negotiations.
Britons should keep EU rights post-Brexit – Guy Verhofstadt}