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European Council President Donald Tusk: Brexit a ‘vaccine’ against ‘fake news’ | Politics News

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Brexit has acted as a warning against leaving the European Union and was a “vaccine against anti-EU propaganda and fake news”, according to European Council President Donald Tusk.

The Brussels official, who claimed there was “nothing promising” yet in finding an agreement on the UK’s exit from the bloc, spoke in the wake of last week’s European Parliament elections.

Having gathered EU leaders to discuss the results of the polls – as well as to debate who could take over his own role and other top jobs in the bloc – Mr Tusk claimed the election outcome was “a good omen for the EU and our future as Europeans”.

“The vast majority voted for a more effective, stronger and united EU while rejecting those who want a weak Europe,” he told a news conference.

“This is powerful sign. Europe is the winner in these elections.

“In fact, as people have become more pro-European, some major eurosceptic parties have abandoned the anti-EU slogans and presented themselves as EU reformers.

“This is a positive development.”



Theresa May has stressed Brexit is now a matter for her successor as she arrived at a European Union summit in Brussels.



May hopes EU vote results will focus minds on Brexit

Mr Tusk, who has previously claimed there is a “special place in hell” for some leading Brexiteers, was again scathing of the UK’s divorce from Brussels.

He said: “I have no doubt that one of the reasons why people on the continent voted for a pro-European majority is also Brexit.

“As Europeans see what Brexit means in practice they also draw conclusions.

“Brexit has been a vaccine against anti-EU propaganda and fake news.”

The last time EU leaders gathered for a summit in Brussels, they agreed to postpone Brexit – through an extension of the Article 50 negotiating period – until 31 October.

At the time, Mr Tusk warned Britain not to “waste” the extra time to find a way past the current impasse at Westminster.

Since then, Theresa May failed with her final effort to win MPs’ approval for her withdrawal agreement and subsequently announced her resignation, beginning a contest to replace her as prime minister and Conservative Party leader.

Asked about developments in the UK, Mr Tusk claimed his appeal from April was “still valid”.

“I have nothing to add to my words,” he said.

“And I have nothing to add because I have no new information [of] what is the state of things in London today. Nothing promising, I should say.

“Our role today is to wait for some new solutions and I want to be as dedicated as possible.

“I’m not in the mood to find a new formulation or appeal to my British colleagues.”

Mr Tusk added EU leaders had used their dinner to only speak about the “process” of choosing his successor – as well as replacements for departing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other senior roles – and did not discuss specific candidates.

Earlier, Mrs May stressed Brexit is now a matter for her successor as she arrived at the summit.

A number of Tory MPs vying to replace Mrs May in 10 Downing Street have argued the UK should leave the EU on 31 October, in line with the new timetable, whether or not a withdrawal agreement is passed by the House of Commons or not.

The prime minister refused to comment on the views of individual candidates, but pointedly remarked that her view remains that “it’s best for the UK to leave with a deal”.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte claimed Mrs May would be met on Tuesday “with a lot of kisses and hugs” from EU leaders, adding: “Because we respect her a lot.”

Other EU leaders, such as Mr Juncker and Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel, reiterated that the bloc will not renegotiate the withdrawal deal agreed with Mrs May with her successor.

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