‘Brexit could be beginning of the end for Europe’

If Britons vote to leave the EU in a June 23 referendum it could be the beginning of the end for the 28-nation bloc and for western political civilisation more generally, European Council president Donald Tusk said.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Mr Tusk said a Brexit vote would provide a major boost to radical anti-European forces who he said would be “drinking champagne”.

“Why is it so dangerous? Because no one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be,” he said. “As a historian I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilisation in its entirety.”

Everyone in the EU would lose out economically if Britain left, Mr Tusk said.

“Every family knows that a divorce is traumatic for everyone. Everyone in the EU, but especially the Brits themselves, would lose out economically,” he said.

The latest polls show Britons are almost evenly split over whether to stay or go. Although he expressed hope the EU would survive in the event of a Brexit, Mr Tusk said the price would be high.

Ulrich Grillo, head of Germany’s BDI industry association, said yesterday that businesses there did not want Britain to leave, adding his message to Britain was: “Stay in.”

More on this topic

Letters to the editor: Celebrating a Brexit deal that will only deliver more hardshipLetters to the editor: Celebrating a Brexit deal that will only deliver more hardship

Jim Power: Britain's renewed Brexit hardline should concern us allJim Power: Britain's renewed Brexit hardline should concern us all

Businesses warn over British points-based work permit planBusinesses warn over British points-based work permit plan

Businesses issue warning on UK work permit planBusinesses issue warning on UK work permit plan