OUTGOING European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that Britain will become a second rate player in global affairs once it leaves the European Union (EU) as it will lack the clout to negotiate with the big boys like the US and China.
In an act of self-destruction, Britain’s government is hell-bent on taking the country out of the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc as soon as possible. In 2016, after a surprise Leave vote in a UK-wide referendum, London has since been trying to negotiate leaving the bloc but the process has been fraught with disagreements.
Next month, the UK will go to the polls and if Prime Minister Boris Johnson secures a large enough majority, he will seek to take the country out of the EU come-what-may. Mr Johnson has said he will be happy to leave under unfavourable conditions or even with no deal at all, as he believes the EU is a hindrance.
Mr Tusk, whose tenure as president is soon to end and who has been the one negotiating with the UK, says he believes the country will live to rue the decision. He added that only a united Europe could confront an assertive China and play an effective global role.
“I have heard repeatedly from Brexiteers that they wanted to leave the European Union to make the United Kingdom global again, believing that only alone, it can truly be great. But the reality is exactly the opposite, as only as part of a united Europe can the UK play a global role and only together can we confront, without any complexes, the greatest powers of this world and the world knows it.
“I have heard the same in India, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and South Africa, that after its departure, the UK will become an outsider, a second-rate player. Why are they doing this, I was asked this regretful question everywhere I went but one of my English friends is probably right when he says with melancholy that Brexit is the real end of the British Empire.”
If Mr Johnson gets re-elected, Britain is set to leave the bloc on January 31 next year. he and his supporters believe that the UK, the world’s fifth-largest economy, will achieve a new global status unshackled from EU rules and closer to the US.
London remains a powerful financial centre and Britain has long been the closest military ally of the US. However, Britain’s status as an influential power in the EU has also given it the clout to diverge from Washington when it disagrees.
This is something it has frequently done since US president Donald Trump came to office. Many Western diplomats believe Britain after Brexit must be careful not alienate itself from other friendly countries who have a more multilateral approach to world politics than President Trump.