Britain will one day rejoin the European Union, one of the bloc’s senior figures has predicted.
Guy Verhofstadt, chairman of the EU’s Brexit Steering Group, said he agreed with the assessment of a British MEP that Brexit will be reversed.
Labour’s Seb Dance argued the UK was taking a “sabbatical” from the bloc and would be back in the future.
Mr Verhofstadt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that will happen, yes, (but) it’s difficult to say when.
“There will be a generation, the young generation coming in the coming decades, who will say later, ‘We want to go back’.
“It will happen. Maybe you will not see it in my life, but it will happen.”
Three years after Britons voted to leave the EU in a referendum Britain will – barring any unforeseen circumstances – leave the bloc on 31 January.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is set to become law in the coming days, with the European Parliament then required to ratify it.
Once Britain has left, London and Brussels will start negotiating the details of the future relationship between the two sides.
This will come into effect at the end of the transition period at the end of December.
The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator says he has been told there will be no automatic deportation from the UK of EU citizens who have not got settled status by the 2021 deadline.
Guy Verhofstadt said he had been given the assurance at a meeting with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
Under the EU settlement scheme, EU citizens living in the UK can apply to stay in the country after Brexit.
So far the number of applicants to the scheme has hit more than 2.7 million.
Nearly 2.5 million EU citizens have been told they can live and work in the UK after Brexit, while six “serious or persistent” criminals have had their applications rejected.
The deadline for applying to the scheme is 30 June 2021.