The United Kingdom will become a “second-rate player” after Brexit, according to outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk, who said the UK's decision to leave “is the real end of the British Empire.”
Speaking at The College of Europe on Wednesday, Tusk urged Remainers to not “give up” in their mission to stop Brexit, saying: “In this match, we had added time, we are already in extra time, perhaps it will even go to penalties?”
Tusk will leave his post on January 1 after holding it throughout the European Union's negotiations with the UK.
In his speech, Tusk said that while Brexiteers want to leave the EU to make the UK “global again,” the “reality is exactly the opposite.”
“The UK will become an outsider, a second-rate player, while the main battlefield will be occupied by China, the United States and the European Union,” he said.
'Why are they doing this?' – I was asked this regretful question everywhere I went. One of my English friends is probably right when he says with melancholy that Brexit is the real end of the British Empire.”
Tusk said the general election on December 12 could be British voters' last chance to undo the 2016 referendum decision.
“Can things still be turned around?” he said.
“Hannah Arendt taught that things become irreversible only when people start to think so.
“So the only words that come to my mind today are simply: Don't give up. In this match, we had added time, we are already in extra time, perhaps it will even go to penalties?”
The UK is due to leave the EU on January 31 after Boris Johnson requested an extension to the Article 50 exit process.
Prime Minister Johnson agreed a revised Brexit deal with the EU in October but decided to push for a general election after members of Parliament rejected his controversial plan to get it ratified in just a few days.