Only alternative to hard Brexit is no Brexit, says Donald Tusk
Tusk said it was "useless to speculate about 'soft Brexit'"
Donald Tusk - Image credit: PA Photos
Theresa May has signalled her intention for Britain to give up its membership of the tariff-free EU single market in return for the UK regaining full control of its borders.
Her hard-line stance has been welcomed by Tory Eurosceptics, but has met with howls of protest from those who campaigned for Britain to retain its EU membership.
In his first public comments since Mrs May set out her approach at last week's Conservative Party conference, Mr Tusk said: "It is useless to speculate about ‘soft Brexit’. These would be purely theoretical speculations.
“In my opinion, the only real alternative to a ‘hard Brexit’ is ‘no Brexit’. Even if today hardly anyone believes in such a possibility."
In an apparent reference to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's policy of being "pro cake and pro eating it", Mr Tusk said there would be "no cake" on offer once Mrs May triggers Article 50 to begin the Brexit process next year. Instead, he said there would be "salt and vinegar".
The Brussels boss also made clear his views on his Twitter page.
“The essence of Brexit as defined in the UK referendum campaign means radically loosening relations with the EU, a de facto "hard Brexit," he tweeted.
“The only real alternative to a "hard Brexit" is "no Brexit". Even if today hardly anyone believes in such a possibility.”
The Prime Minister also hinted that EU citizens could lose some of the rights they have in the event of no Brexit deal
The UK Government will "prove the doomsayers wrong" and achieve a successful withdrawal from the EU, the Prime Minister will say today
The EU’s chief negotiator has warned that it could be "months" before he is able to say that "sufficient progress" has been made in the Brexit talks
In a keynote speech in Florence, the Prime Minister said neither the UK or the EU would be ready to implement Brexit by March 2019