In the European parliament yesterday, Donald Tusk said Britain needs “dreams and dreamers” to keep the idea of a the UK in the EU alive.

“During the European Council, one of the leaders warned us not to be dreamers and that we shouldn’t think that Brexit can be reversed,” Mr Tusk told MEPs in Strasbourg.

“I didn’t respond at the time. But today in front of you I would like to say at this rather difficult moment in our history that we need the dreamers and dreams. We cannot give in to fatalism."

Mr Tusk has made no secret of the fact he would rather see the UK stay in the block. 

“In my view it has a few advantages. Only a long extension ensures that all options remain on the table, such as ratification of the current withdrawal agreement or extra time to rethink Brexit, if that were the wish of the British people. Second, it allows the EU to focus on other priorities that are at least as important, such as trade with the US or the new EU leadership" he said.

“I know that some have expressed fear that the UK might want to disrupt the EU’s functioning during this time. But the EU did not give in to such scaremongering... in fact, since the very beginning of the Brexit process the UK has been a constructive and responsible EU member state. So we have no reason to believe that this should change."

“Third, the flexible extension delays the possibility of a no-deal Brexit by six months. Thanks to this, millions of people and businesses have gained at least some certainty in this unstable time.”

In a previous speech to the EU parliament, Mr. Tusk said the EU cannot betray the (non-existent) "increasing majority" of British people who want to cancel Brexit and remain in the EU.