Brexit ‘chaos’ in Britain will save the EU by deterring other countries from leaving the bloc, a senior MEP taunted today.
Guy Verhofstadt, who is representing the European Parliament in the Brexit talks, pointed to a fall in support for quitting the EU in Denmark.
Right-wing populists have also fallen far short of expectations in Swedish elections in recent days, while liberal parties topped the polls.
He claimed Brexit had provoked a ‘resurrection of attachment to the EU’ by reminding people of the benefits of pooling power.
Brexit ‘chaos’ in Britain will save the EU by deterring other countries from leaving the bloc, senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt taunted today
Mr Verhofstadt is a leading European federalist and supporter of a ‘united states’ of Europe.
He has frequently intervened on the negotiations to the irritation of Brexiteers in London.
Mr Verhofstadt told Ouest France: ‘Fortunately, we have Brexit. It illustrates the populist wave but it has also provoked a resurrection of attachment to the EU.
‘In Denmark polls clearly say that people do not want to jump ship any more. We see the difficulties, the chaos created by Great Britain’s exit.’
Vowing to take his message into next year’s European Parliament elections – which Britain will not take part in for the first time – Mr Verhofstadt added: ‘The fight, in 2019, will be a fight between the nationalist populists on the one hand and a pro-European alternative.
‘If we do not care, [the EU] will disappear. Nothing is for ever.’
Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured last night at the Mail’s Health Hero Awards) is scrambling to salvage her Brexit blueprint
He said: ‘Even the populists do not dare to say that they want to leave the EU — and they throw themselves into the migration issue.
Mr Verhofstafdt’s intervention came as former foreign secretary William Hague accused Tory Eurosceptics of playing ‘Russian Roulette’ by trying to kill of Theresa May’s Chequers plan
‘We see a change in their language. They all wanted to get out . . . and now they stay. They see that people do not want it.
‘We pro-Europeans must seize the public opinion that is aware of all this. This is an opportunity now.’
Mr Verhofstafdt’s intervention came as former foreign secretary William Hague accused Tory Eurosceptics of playing ‘Russian Roulette’ by trying to kill of Theresa May’s Chequers plan.
Lord Hague said he feared Britain was on track for disaster unless hardliners on both sides of the debate were willing to compromise.
The grim assessment came as the PM scrambles to save her blueprint for future relations with the EU, which has come under heavy fire from Brexiteers, Remainers and Brussels.
Boris Johnson stoked tensions over the weekend by accusing Mrs May of wrapping a ‘suicide vest’ around the UK – amid claims at least 80 MPs are prepared to vote against the Chequers proposals if they come to parliament.