Speaking in Dortmund, Germany, Mr Tusk said he wanted to remind leaders it was the centenary of the end of the First World War, when “sleepwalkers in power” with “hopelessly weak imaginations” led Europe to “catastrophe”. The European Council president said he wanted to dedicate the words of sociologist Max Weber to the “authors of Brexit”. He used the example of Brexit to urge politicians to consider what the consequences of their actions would be.
Mr Tusk said: “On the centenary of the end of the First World War, it is worth reminding ourselves of the story of its beginning, with all those sleepwalkers in power, who – having the best intentions and a hopelessly weak imagination – led Europe to catastrophe.
“Max Weber wrote about the ethics of responsibility.
“Today, I would like to dedicate his words to some of the contemporary leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, and in particular to the authors of Brexit.”
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He said the EU was the “best political invention in our history”.
Mr Tusk said: “Today we need leaders who understand that their role is not only having techonoctraic skill and the ability to stay in power. We need leaders who can use the potential of emotions to defend our fundamental values.
“When today I hear European politicians who wipe out all the tradition of liberal democracy for whom human rights, minority rights, government within the law, the precedence of the constitution over the will of rulers and free media are empty slogans I loudly say ‘no because I know what these principles mean remembering still what life is like for a man deprived of rights who is at the mercy, or lack of mercy of those in power.
“Europe is the best place on earth and the European Union is the best political invention in our history.
“But only as long as we stand by these principles. That’;s what my heart and mind tell me, my knowledge and my faith. And being with you, I know that I am not alone.”
It comes after Donald Tusk accused MPs of showing a lack of respect to Prime Minister Theresa May.
He said: “We have treated Prime Minister May with the greatest respect, all of us, and we really appreciate the efforts by the prime minister to ratify our common agreement.
“My impression is that in fact we have treated prime minister May with a much greater empathy and respect than some MPs, for sure.”