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Britain could still “change its mind” about Brexit at this late stage and return to be a member of the European Union, the two highest officials in the European Union have said.

Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, European Council president Donald Tusk said that Europeans’ “hearts are still open” to “our British friends” to remain in the bloc.

“If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality, with all its negative consequences in March next year, unless there is a change of heart among our British friends,” he told MEPs.

Quoting the Brexit Secretary, he added: “Wasn’t it David Davis himself who said ‘if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’? We here on the continent haven’t had a change of heart – our hearts are still open to you.”

He was immediately backed up by Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission.

“President Tusk also made some comments on Brexit, he said that our door remains open. I hope that will be heard clearly in London,” Mr Juncker added.

The intervention is especially welcome after the publication of a so-called “killer” graphic depicting the possible shapes of a post-EU UK trade deal with the bloc (above). The Huffington Post explains:

The EU has warned Britain is heading for a ‘Hard Brexit’ – with a “killer graphic” claiming a bare-bones trade deal will be the automatic result of Theresa May’s plans.

The image sets out what the EU thinks is the consequence of each of Mrs May’s demands.

Starting with full EU membership on the left, it goes through each of the non-EU countries that it thinks the UK could possibly use as a template for a future relationship.

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (all European Economic Area members) are ruled out because of ‘red lines’ ruling out the European Court of Justice, free movement of migrants, ongoing cash payments and EU trade rules.

The next country ruled out is Switzerland, (a member of Efta, the European free trade association), the next is Ukraine (which has an ‘association agreement’ with the EU), and finally Turkey (which has a form of customs union but no migration deal).

The final flags are for South Korea and Canada, both of which have signed free-trade deals with the EU in recent years.

But the graphic also depicts such basic free trade deals – which don’t include full access for services rather than goods – as not being far from a ‘no deal’ Brexit.


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