Brexit is having a disastrous impact on plans for closer integration in Europe, says European Council president Donald Tusk.
He claims his time is now spent on patching up a disintegrating Europe rather than promoting closer ties between the EU nations.
“I believe Brexit is one of the saddest moments in 21st century European history – in fact, sometimes I am even furious about it,” he said at a recent speech to university students in Dublin.
“This year will be about Brexit mainly, unfortunately. It means that instead of further integration I will be dealing with disintegration, in fact.
“By this I mean a damage control process, and my main focus will be to eliminate, or at least to reduce the negative side effects of Brexit, with the Irish question, of course, at the centre of my attention.”
His last speech in Ireland was an angry tirade announcing no Brexit progress would be made until the Irish border question was resolved.
A few days later, the European Council signed off agreement on a transition deal leaving the Irish border issue unresolved.
Ambassador gets a roasting from unhappy expats
British expats in France have grilled the UK ambassador about their post-Brexit rights after hijacking a two-hour briefing in the British embassy in Paris.
Edward Llewellyn, the ambassador, gave a speech outlining how Prime Minister Theresa May had protected their rights – and the response was laughter and heckling.
More than 60 expats were at the meeting and most had detailed questions about their future after Brexit that the ambassador and his staff failed to answer.
Around 100,000 British expats live in France, with tens of thousands more with homes in other European Union countries.
Lord Llewellyn, former Prime Minister David Cameron’s chief of staff, was not expecting the angry response.
One question he did answer was if the government was planning a second Brexit referendum.
“There is not going to be a second referendum. A second referendum is not the government policy,” he told his audience.
British diplomatic staff in other countries are planning similar update briefings for British expats across the EU.