Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that Brexit is reversible, despite the countdown for the exit in March 2019.
Addressing Members of the European Parliament, the President of the European Council said that a “change of heart” was still possible.
The Polish politician was making a reference to the now famous quote by Brexit Secretary David Davies, who said that “… if democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”
Tusk’s statement was immediately met with a rejection by the British Environment Minister Michael Gove, who told BBC that the UK expects to have “a great future” outside the European Union.
Public opinion is fluid, especially as the British press expects
The call for a change of heart comes in the aftermath of calls by Nigel Farage for a second referendum on EU membership, prior to March 2019. Farage expects the second vote to verify the will for Brexit, settling the political debate in the UK.
On Monday, the first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon warned that she has not decided whether or not to call a second referendum on independence; she linked the issue to the Brexit negotiations and committed to a final decision by the end of 2018, months before the UK formally exits the EU.
The consensus in the UK is that Brexit is happening.
Even the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has dismissed the idea of a second referendum after an amendment to the EU withdrawal bill that ensures the parliament must approve any deal signed between the government and Brussels.
However, a change is not impossible to perceive, especially as it transpires that the UK is heading towards a two-year transition period in which London will have no say about EU regulation, but will have to abide by Brussels norms. Moreover, there will be little scope for stopping immigration, limiting fishing, or implementing new trade deals.
“If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality with all its negative consequences,” Tusk warned.