Eurocrat Brands Brexit ‘One of the Most Spectacular Mistakes’ in History

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 18: European Council President Donald Tusk speaks to the media at the conclusion of a two-day summit of European Union leaders on October 18, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. The day before EU and UK negotiators announced an agreement on the United Kingdom's departure from the European …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Former President of the European Council Donald Tusk has said that Brexit is “one of the most spectacular mistakes” in history and that it would be better for the United Kingdom and the European Union if Brexit did not happen.

In an interview with The Guardian, the former EU president brushed off concerns from other European diplomats that a second referendum resulting in a vote to Remain would cause division in the United Kingdom, leading to animosity towards the EU and in turn resulting in Britain vetoing Brussels’ efforts for further integration.

“The only difference would be that they [the British] will still be here. They will be divided anyway: 50/50,” Mr Tusk told the newspaper.

“It’s pure illusion [to think] that it is easier to build good relations with the UK when they are outside,” he insisted.

He also blamed former British prime minister David Cameron for the “mistake” of holding the 2016 referendum, which Tusk said “he had no chance to win”.

Even on the morning after the Leave result, the former Polish prime minister asked Prime Minister Cameron if it were possible to defy the will of the people and simply ignore the vote.

“I asked him: ‘Is it a decision, is it an obligation to follow this result?’” Mr Tusk said.

When the British prime minister told him it was, Tusk continued: “My intention was to at least prolong the whole debate in Europe and also in the UK. With this, maybe [it was] a little bit naive [to] hope that it could be reversible.”

Mr Tusk was not shy about sharing his opinions on Brexit whilst in office. In January, then-President Tusk revealed that he had warned Cameron against holding what he termed a “dangerous” vote in 2016, saying that “no-one has an appetite for revolution in Europe only because of your stupid referendum”.

He had also said in February that there was a “special place in hell” for British politicians who supported leaving the EU.

The former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also gave his frank opinion of Brexit at the end of his premiership, when in October he labelled Brexit “a waste of time and a waste of energy”.

The following month, Mr Juncker blamed his “friend” Tony Blair for Brexit. He said that the former prime minister had inadequately sold to the British people in the ten years of his premiership an idea that the EU was more than a trading bloc than a political union where countries would be expected to surrender their sovereignty for the greater good.

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