Europe

Dutch leader says Brexit puts Britain in deep trouble

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gestures during the closing debate at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe. (Remko de Waal ANP POOL via AP)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gestures during the closing debate at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe. (Remko de Waal ANP POOL via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gestures in the closing debate at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe. (Remko de Waal ANP POOL via AP)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gestures in the closing debate at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe. (Remko de Waal ANP POOL via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, right, and right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders, left, wait for the start of the closing debate at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, right, and right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders, left, wait for the start of the closing debate at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is questioning British optimism that departing the European Union will lead to a brighter future, saying the United Kingdom could be in for "potentially irreparable harm."

In unusually frank terms toward a longstanding allied nation, Rutte says British growth has remained good since last year's Brexit vote only because the pound has sunk so low. He adds that "if you look below the surface, the English economy suffers potentially irreparable harm because of their Brexit."

Rutte says the Brexit vote has already led to a "tectonic shift" within the international banking community that still has London as one of its biggest global hubs.