LONDON – Brexit is a “stupid decision” which could still be reversed by the British people, one of the European Union’s top officials has said.
Martin Selmayr, who is chief of staff to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the door “will always be open” for Britain to return to the EU and said it was still “legally” possible for the UK to change its decision before then.
However, Selmayr, who was speaking at a conference in Brussels on Monday said it was unlikely that the British government would change its mind.
He said: “Brexit is bad, and it’s a stupid decision. The only people who can reverse it would be the British people and I am not a dreamer, I am a realist. Brexit will happen on March 29, 2019.”
Selmayr added: “The door of the European Union after March 2019 will always be open, and to all of our British friends, of course that is something that we humanly wish, but politically at the moment this option is not on the table.”
Last week the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned that Brexit will be an “educational process” for Britain and the “extremely serious consequences” of leaving the single market need to be explained to the EU.
On Monday Barnier denied wanting to educate Britain or teach a lesson over Brexit, instead explaining the benefits of the single market in a tweet:
I said: #Brexit = occasion to explain single market benefits in all countries, incl my own. We do not want to "educate" or "teach lessons".
— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) September 4, 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May ruled out delaying Brexit as talks stalled over the size of the divorce bill, which is one of three key issues that need to be resolved before discussions progress.