EUROPEAN Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker said punishing the UK over Brexit negotiations would make sure no other countries want to leave the bloc.
Mr Juncker said such a brutal move would ensure the survival of the EU.
The Eurocrat also warned Prime Minister Theresa May she would have no option but to accept the EU’s demands once talks begin in the summer.
Asked by German newspaper Bild whether he was worried Britain was just the first nation to quit the troubled bloc, Mr Juncker replied: “No. Britain’s example will make everyone realise that it’s not worth leaving.”
He added: “On the contrary, the remaining member states will fall in love with each other again and renew their vows with the European Union.”
The Eurocrat went on to say Britain would have to get used to life outside the EU.
He said: “Half memberships and cherry-picking aren’t possible. In Europe you eat what’s on the table or you don’t sit at the table.”
It follows Mr Juncker saying the EU has prepared a divorce bill of £60billion in a “take it or leave it” offer to Mrs May.
EU officials are said to be prepared for British diplomats to walk out of talks once they open in June.
Mr Juncker said chief negotiator Michel Barnier had “everything prepared down to the last detail” including a divorce bill of between £20billion and £60billion.
Speaking about the future of post-Brexit Mr Juncker said: “They will all see from Britain’s example that leaving the EU is a bad idea.”
Downing Street today revealed Article 50 will be triggered on March 29.
Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “Last June, the people of the UK made the historic decision to leave the EU.
“Next Wednesday, the Government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50.”