'There will be no cakes for anyone, only salt and vinegar' - Donald Tusk on Brexit

He said there is no such thing as a "soft" exit

'There will be no cakes for anyone, only salt and vinegar' - Donald Tusk on Brexit

File photo of President of the European Council Donald Tusk speaking in Ukraine in September 2016 | Image: European Union

The European Council President Donald Tusk has made some interesting analogies in relation to Britain's exit from the European Union.

He has warned the only way the UK can avoid a so-called 'hard' exit from the EU is by not leaving it.

In a speech at the European Policy Centre conference, Mr Tusk said the UK cannot retain the benefits of its European Union membership while blocking the free movement of people.

He said there is no such thing as a "soft" exit.

"Our task will be to protect the interests of the EU as a whole and the interests of each of the 27 member states. And also to stick unconditionally to the treaty rules and fundamental values.

"By this I mean...the conditions for access to the single market with all four freedoms. There will be no compromises in this regard."

Hard Brexit or no Brexit

He also criticised how the Leave campaign was presented, adding: "We all remember the promises, which cumulated in the demand to 'take back control'. Namely the 'liberation' from European jurisdiction, a 'no' to the freedom of movement or further contributions to the EU budget.

"This approach has definitive consequences, both for the position of the UK government and for the whole process of negotiations.

"Regardless of magic spells, this means a de facto will to radically loosen relations with the EU, something that goes by the name of 'hard Brexit'".

"This scenario will in the first instance be painful for Britons."

He also dismissed comments made by Boris Johnson during the Vote Leave campaign about cake, where the now UK foreign secretary spoke of being 'pro-having it and pro-eating it'.

"To all who believe in it, I propose a simple experiment. Buy a cake, eat it, and see if it is still there on the plate", Mr Tusk added.

He concluded: "The brutal truth is that Brexit will be a loss for all of us. There will be no cakes on the table. For anyone. There will be only salt and vinegar.

"If you ask me if there is any alternative to this bad scenario, I would like to tell you that yes, there is. And I think it is useless to speculate about 'soft Brexit' because of all the reasons I've mentioned.

"In my opinion, the only real alternative to a 'hard Brexit' is 'no Brexit'. Even if today hardly anyone believes in such a possibility."