European Council President Donald Tusk has not given up hope of stopping Brexit, saying the European Union “cannot give in to fatalism”.
In a speech to European Parliament members, Mr Tusk said: “During the European Council one of the leaders warned us not to be dreamers and that we shouldn’t think that Brexit can be reversed.”
He added, “I didn’t respond at the time. But today in front of you I would like to say at this rather difficult moment in our history, that we need the dreamers and dreams. We cannot give into fatalism. At least, I will not stop dreaming about a better and united Europe.”
Just days ago, Mr Tusk made similar comments when he told Polish media: “Maybe we can avoid the UK leaving the EU – this is obviously not my role, but it’s my personal, quiet dream.”
Hotel California: Tusk Pushes ‘Long But Flexible’ Brexit Delay Ahead of EU Council https://t.co/vuZmHXOmNb
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 5, 2019
Mr Tusk had himself faced criticism from senior MEPs in the European Parliament for his part in allowing the UK a longer Brexit extension, currently until October 31st, with one MEP warning that the decision would “poison” European elections, currently due to begin on May 23rd.
Senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt said to Mr Tusk that “Instead of sending May back to London with no extension or ultimately a very short one – a few days, a week – you gave her six months.”
“In six months everyone knows, on 31 October, it is too near for a substantial rethink of Brexit and too far away to prompt any action … I fear it will prolong uncertainty and it will import the Brexit mess into the EU and poison the upcoming European election,” Mr Verhofstadt continued.
Mr Tusk responded, saying, “I want to remind everybody that the UK has the right and obligation to take part in this election as long as it remains in the EU.”
London’s Khan Says May Should Have Cancelled Brexit
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 11, 2019
“This is not subject to negotiation. I also cannot agreed to accept a second category of membership. I understand party interests but they cannot overshadow the legal reality,” he added.
The European Council president’s comments come as former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have called for a second in/out referendum for the UK on Brexit. The pair claimed that Brexit was the biggest threat to the Good Friday Agreement, which needed to be protected.
Writing in the Observer on Sunday, Mr Blair and Mr Ahern said, “Following the Good Friday agreement, there were two referendums. The referendum in Northern Ireland, on the agreement, based on facts not promises, clarity not ambiguity, received a 71 per cent yes result. The related referendum in the Republic of Ireland achieved a 94 per cent yes.
They added, “There is now time for a confirmatory referendum given the EU has expanded the Brexit deadline to 31 October. It is this that must be pursued, and May should take the lead in that process.”