EU President Donald Tusk appealed Monday to British citizens to vote in favour of staying in the European Union in this week's referendum, warning that the opposite outcome
"I would like to appeal to the British citizens, on behalf - I know that for a fact - of almost all Europeans and European leaders: Stay with us. We need you," Tusk said in Lisbon, during a press conference with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
"Without you, not only Europe but the whole Western and trans-Altlantic community will become weaker," Tusk added, warning that a British vote in favour of leaving the EU could be the "first step of the whole process of [EU] disintegration."
"There are more signals of dissatisfaction at the [European] Union coming from all of Europe, not only from the UK," Tusk noted, adding that the bloc would be "foolish" to ignore the message being sent by the British referendum.
"I have no doubt that our enemies - internal and external enemies - they will open a bottle of champagne if the result of the referendum is negative for us," the EU chief said. "United we stand, divided we fall," he added.
The EU and its institutions are "already prepared for the day afer the referendum," Tusk said. The vote takes place on Thursday, and high-ranking EU officials are due to discuss the outcome on Friday. All 28 EU leaders are scheduled to meet in a summit early next week.