British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn warned Thursday that failing to reach a Brexit deal would be “catastrophic” for industry, as London’s divorce negotiations with the European Union teeter on the brink. Corbyn, in Brussels to meet fellow left-wing European politicians on the sidelines of a crucial EU summit focused on Brexit, told Britain’s Sky News he had come to the heart of Europe to “make sure that negotiations get on track”.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to plead with the other 27 EU leaders at a dinner on Thursday to unlock the second phase of negotiations about Britain’s future relationship with the bloc and crucially the issue of trade. As May fights growing rebellions in her Conservative Party and increasing frustration from Brussels about the lack of progress in Brexit talks, Labor Party leader Corbyn said May had “managed to upset just about everybody”.
“It is up to her to get the negotiations back on track. We cannot countenance the idea that we just rush headlong into no deal with Europe,” Corbyn said. “It would be catastrophic for manufacturing industry jobs and we would have real problems all through the economy.”
The other EU nations are set to say that not enough progress has been made on divorce issues to move on to the second phase of talks, and the most they can do is to start internal preparations to discuss trade and a transition deal in December.
Five rounds of Brexit negotiations have produced limited results and fears are growing that Britain may fail to strike a withdrawal agreement before its formal departure on March 29, 2019.