EU chief Tusk slams utopian illusions of united Europe | Reuters

LUXEMBOURG EU leaders promoting utopian 'illusions' of a united Europe have lost touch with its peoples and risk losing out to eurosceptic populists bent on breaking up the bloc, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Monday.

Reuters May 31, 2016 00:01:57 IST
EU chief Tusk slams utopian illusions of united Europe
| Reuters

EU chief Tusk slams utopian illusions of united Europe
 Reuters

LUXEMBOURG EU leaders promoting utopian "illusions" of a united Europe have lost touch with its peoples and risk losing out to eurosceptic populists bent on breaking up the bloc, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Monday.

Tusk, who will chair a summit of EU leaders next month days after Britain votes on whether to leave the Union, made the outspoken criticism in a speech to fellow conservatives from EU countries, including many supporters of a more federal Europe.

"It is us who today are responsible for confronting reality with all kinds of utopias -- a utopia of Europe without nation states, a utopia of Europe without conflicting interests and ambitions, a utopia of Europe imposing its own values on the external world," the former Polish prime minister said.

"Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe, do not share our Euro-enthusiasm. Disillusioned with the great visions of the future, they demand that we cope with the present reality better than we have been doing until now ... Euroscepticism (has) become an alternative to those illusions."

Much of the British campaign to leave the EU in a referendum on June 23 has focused on fears of greater integration at the expense of national sovereignty -- concerns that are also strong in Tusk's native Poland, where his own centre-right party lost power last year to eurosceptic, right-wing opponents.

He made no explicit mention of the Brexit debate in his speech in Luxembourg to an audience that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker at a meeting of the European People's Party, an alliance that is the biggest bloc in the European Parliament.

However, Tusk, who has long defended states' rights against centralising forces in Brussels, has called a British departure a major risk for the EU. He urged leaders to change tack on confronting anti-EU forces, which include strong movements in France, the Netherlands, Hungary and several other countries:

"The spectre of a break-up is haunting Europe," he said. "A vision of a federation doesn't seem to me like the best answer to it."

(Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

also read

Murder-suicide at UCLA shuts down campus
| Reuters
World

Murder-suicide at UCLA shuts down campus | Reuters

LOS ANGELES A murder-suicide at the University of California, Los Angeles shut down the campus for two hours on Wednesday, drawing officers in camouflage and tactical gear to the scene and prompting officials to lock down the campus. "A homicide and a suicide occurred," Los Angles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters near the scene.

Austria's Freedom Party likely to challenge presidential election result - OE1
| Reuters
World

Austria's Freedom Party likely to challenge presidential election result - OE1 | Reuters

ZURICH Austria's anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPO) is very likely to formally challenge the result of last month's presidential election and is calling for postal ballots to be abolished, its leader said on Saturday. Asked how likely it is the FPO will formally challenge the result of the vote, which its candidate Norbert Hofer narrowly lost, Heinz-Christian Strache said in an interview with radio station OE1: "It is very likely ...

Britons narrowly support remaining in the EU - Opinium poll
| Reuters
World

Britons narrowly support remaining in the EU - Opinium poll | Reuters

LONDON British support for remaining in the European Union stands at 44 percent compared to 42 percent of voters who back leaving the 28-member bloc, according to an Opinium poll for Sunday's Observer newspaper. Britons will vote on June 23 on whether to remain part of the EU, a choice with far-reaching consequences for politics, the economy, defence and diplomacy in Britain and elsewhere. The survey, which found 13 percent of people were undecided, contrasts with an ORB poll for the Independent newspaper published late on Friday, in which respondents backed Brexit by 55 percent to 45 percent.