Tusk's warning comes amid calls for reform of the EU, whichever way the British vote on June 23, the signal has been sent to Brussels that it is time for change. There is growing support throughout Europe for referendums on the issue, irrespective of the British outcome.
I appeal to the British citizens: Stay with us. We need you. Together we will cope with future challenges. Apart it will be more difficult.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 20 June 2016
Tusk told reporters on a visit to Portugal: "I would like to appeal to British citizens on behalf — I know for a fact — almost all Europeans and European leaders. Stay with us, we need you. We need you. Not only Europe but also the whole transatlantic western community will become weaker.
"Together we will be able to cope with increasingly difficult challenges of the future. The biggest fear that this possible negative result can be also encouraging for other Euroskeptics in Europe. It could be the first step in the whole process of disintegration."
Opinion polls in the UK have suggested a close vote, with the WhatUKThinks poll of polls, June 21, showing the Leave and Remain camps at 50 percent each.
Campaigning for the referendum was suspended following the murder of UK politician Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed outside her constituency office in the North of England on June 16. Parliament was recalled from its referendum recess on June 20 for a special session when tributes were made to the late lawmaker.
Beckham Backs Bremain
However, with just two days' more campaigning, both sides began a final push June 21. The Remain camp wheeled out football megastar David Beckham. In a statement released through the group Britain Stronger in Europe, Beckham said:
"We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone."
Some on social media poked fun at the statement, as it was not written in the language normally associated with the brilliant footballer, whose athleticism outshines his linguistic eloquence.
This is exactly how David Beckham speaks:pic.twitter.com/ERPzcf69qc— Philip Cowley (@philipjcowley) 21 June 2016
Meanwhile, there is growing support for fundamental reforms within the EU. A poll by the University of Edinburgh in March found that, in France, a majority of people would like a referendum on EU membership (53 percent) and in Sweden, Germany, and Spain there are more respondents in favor of holding a similar referendum than opposed.
Another poll by de Hond in the Netherlands found that 53 percent of Dutch wanting an EU membership referendum similar to the British vote.