Left-wing economist Yanis Varoufakis has attacked Prime Minister Theresa May and her fellow EU leaders ahead of his return to the UK on Thursday 20 July.

The former Greek finance minister, who urged British voters to back Remain at the EU referendum last year, said May and other top politicians across the continent are visionless.

"Britain and the European continent are going through a traumatic period under the leadership of politicians that lack the vision and the interest to steer our countries, our continent, our social economies and environment into a direction consistent with the interests of the majority of our people," he said in a statement seen by IBTimes UK.

Varoufakis, 56, is visiting Brighton to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex and to join Green co-leader Caroline Lucas to discuss the future of the European left. The academic also plans to promote his Adults in the Room book, which chronicles his time in Syriza.

Varoufakis, an outspoken critic of Brussels, left the Greek government in 2015 and was advising Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in "some capacity" in 2016. "Yanis is a towering figure on the left and I look forward to discussing with him the future of progressive politics in Europe," Lucas said.

"With the government in Britain dragging us towards an extreme Brexit, and a resurgent mood among progressives, I'm sure that Yanis will have plenty of interesting observations on what's occurring.

"The need for a bold alternative to Tory-inflicted misery couldn't be more acute, and I know that Yanis shares my vision for a pluralist approach to beating this Government and creating a genuinely progressive alternative.

"The struggles of people against austerity span this continent, from Athens to Aberbeen, Bilbao to Brighton – and I hope that this discussion with Yanis will focus on solutions to are shared challenges, as well as diagnosing the problems."

Varoufakis added: "Having had first hand experience of the combination of incompetence and authoritarianism running our governments across Europe, and having co-founded the Democracy in Europe Movement with Caroline Lucas, on an agenda of radically transforming the EU into a democratic, ecologically-minded entity, I am very much looking forward to joining Caroline, and members of the public, in Brighton to discuss the Brexit conundrum and, more broadly, the way to a decent future."

The comments come during the very early stages of the two-year-long Brexit talks, with the UK government and EU promising to prioritise the issue of citizens' rights. May, who lost her majority in the House of Commons at the general election, has promised to split from the EU's single-market and customs union.

Labour, meanwhile, have called for a so called "jobs first" Brexit. The party acknowledged in its election manifesto that the free movement of EU nationals to the UK would end after Brexit.