In an interview with UK and Polish media, EU Council president Donald Tusk has said there is a 30 percent chance Brexit will not happen.
Tusk said the 2016 referendum was “at the worst possible moment” but “paradoxically, Brexit awoke in Great Britain a pro-European movement.
Today the chance that Brexit will not happen is, in my opinion, 20-30 percent. That’s a lot,” he added.
“A real debate about the consequences of Brexit wasn’t had during the referendum campaign, but only after the vote. Today the result would probably look different. Paradoxically, Brexit awoke in Great Britain a pro-European movement.”
Tusk, whose tenure as president of the European council, the EU body made up of the 28 leaders of member states, is due to end in November, said he had been moved by the anti-Brexit march in London earlier this year during which he was celebrated as a voice calling for the UK to reconsider.
From month to month, it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK’s exit from the EU will look completely different than the Brexit that was promoted,” Tusk added. “I see no reason to capitulate.”
The former Polish prime minister, who was interviewed by the GW editor, Adam Michnik, to mark the newspaper’s 30th anniversary, said there was historical precedent for the British people revisiting decisions made in referendums.
“Even if we repeat that the referendum is the expression of will by the nation, and the will of the nation must be respected, yes, you have to respect it,” he said.
“But the 2016 referendum was not the first on the UK‘s membership of the EU. The first took place in 1975, when the British, two years after entering the European Economic Commmunity, decided whether to remain in it.
“If the 2016 referendum was able to change the result of the referendum in 1975, why can it not be changed again? Nothing is irreversible until people believe it is.”
“Tusk was attending an informal EU summit in Sibiu, Romania. He also joined an open-air concert following the Informal Meeting of EU Heads of State or Government.
The UK had been due to leave the bloc on 29 March, after two years of negotiations, but the repeated rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal by the Commons forced the prime minister to seek more time.
Tusk admitted that “almost every day” he heard from those who said the UK should be cut off from the EU if it was unable to come to a deal.
“My main task is to make sure that the EU has shown patience despite being felt in many places on the continent these negative emotions,” he said.