A top European leader Theresa May counts as a trusted ally in Brexit talks has blasted the UK for being caught up in “chaos”.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte compared his own country to a “fragile vase” but said on this side of the channel the vase has been “dropped”.
“I compare the Netherlands to a fragile vase, held by its 17 million citizens,” he wrote in a full-page advert, printed in the popular daily tabloid Algemeen Dagblad.
In order to preserve the vase, “compromises often have to be made in which difficult problems are solved in a sensible way,” he continued.
But Mr Rutte warned there are examples in society “where the vase has been dropped.”
“Look at Great Britain,” he said.
“There, its politicians and its people have forgotten what they’ve reached together.
“Now they are caught up in chaos.”
Rutte was the first stop on Prime Minister Theresa May’s tour to get legal assurances for a Brexit deal from EU leaders last week.
He has been Dutch prime minister since 2010 and currently leads a shaky coalition government.
Observers said the advert was the start of his campaign for his liberal VVD party, in the run up to European Parliament elections next year.
Mr Rutte supported Mrs May at last week’s EU summit, but withheld a promise to give new legal assurances about the Irish border backstop.
Warning against a second referendum, he told reporters: “Given Brexit, given the red lines, the deal’s on the table and we have to dance with Theresa against this tune.”