EU’s Donald Tusk urges end to ‘utopian dreams’ of Europe
REUTERS photoEuropean Council President Donald Tusk urged Europeans to abandon dreams of a federal Europe as these will only stoke the rise of anti-EU populists.
The former Polish prime minister, who presides over EU leaders summits, made the comments three weeks before Britain votes in a June 23 referendum on EU membership.
“There is no worse prospect for the European economy than the omen of a triumph of anti-liberal and Euroskeptic political forces,” Tusk told a meeting of business leaders on June 1.
In order to combat this rise in populism, “Europeans must depart from utopian dreams and move on to practical activities, such as for instance reinforcing the EU’s external borders or consistently completing the Banking Union,” he said.
European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker also warned against demands for a more unified Europe.
“I think that in the end, too much Europe will kill Europe,” Juncker, who is widely considered a European federalist, said in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine published on June2.
“But it is also true, that too little Europe would kill Europe,” he added.
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, French-American actress Julie Delpy and Abba star Björn Ulvaeus were among some 140 European celebrities who signed a “love letter to the British people” on June 2.
The letter, also signed by French former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier and Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven, voices the hope that Britons will vote to stay in the European Union in a referendum this month.
“It is not just treaties that join us to your country but bonds of admiration and affection. All of us hope that you will vote to renew them,” said the letter published in the Times Literary Supplement magazine.
French “Highlander” star Christopher Lambert, model and actress Isabella Rossellini and restaurateur Raymond Blanc were also among the signatories.
“It is your decision, and we will all accept it. Nevertheless, if it will help the undecided to make up their minds, we would like to express how very much we value having the United Kingdom in the European Union,” the letter said.
Opinion polls estimate that up to a fifth of British voters have yet to make up their minds ahead of the June 23 vote.
Excluding the undecideds, the “Remain” camp is at 51 percent against 49 percent for “Leave” according to the WhatUKThinks poll of polls average on June 2.