Standing ovation for Jeremy Corbyn in Brussels

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Standing ovation for Jeremy Corbyn in Brussels

Post by Sassy on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:34 pm

UK Labour leader tells European Socialists ‘no deal’ scenario would be ‘catastrophic’

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UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was given a rapturous reception by his Socialist allies in Brussels on Thursday, as he warned that leaving the EU without a Brexit deal would be “catastrophic” for the UK economy.

Mr Corbyn was met with a standing ovation by Europe’s centre-left parties as he addressed delegates at the Europe Together conference, just hours before prime minister Theresa May was scheduled to meet her EU counterparts at a European leaders’ summit.

“We’re here to make sure that negotiations get on track, that we defend jobs in Britain, and that we make sure there is trade access to Europe in the future,” said Mr Corbyn, who was introduced as Britain’s “future prime minister” as Coldplay’s “Adventure of a Lifetime” played in the background.

“The prime minister seems to have managed to upset just about everybody and have a warring cabinet around her. It’s up to her to get the negotiations back on track,” said Mr Corbyn. The Labour leader, who was a fierce critic of the EU during his decades as a backbench MP, said the possibility of a “no deal” would be “catastrophic” for the UK economy.

“We cannot countenance the idea that we rush headlong into a no deal with Europe. No deal would be very dangerous for employment and jobs in Britain,” he said. “We are clear in our priorities: a jobs-first Brexit which maintains free access to the single market.”

Mr Corbyn met Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, and the prime ministers of Portugal, Italy and Sweden on Thursday in Brussels.

Mr Corbyn’s popularity among young voters makes him an exception in Europe. Socialist parties in Germany, France and the Netherlands have all suffered historic defeats this year.

The Labour leader told his European allies that they needed to come up with “radical alternatives” for Europeans after years of austerity, rising job insecurity and falling living standards.

“The neoliberal economic model is broken. It doesn’t work for most people,” he said, adding: “Our broken system has provided fertile ground for the growth of nationalist and xenophobic politics.”

Mr Corbyn’s enthusiastic reception was in stark contrast to Mrs May’s arrival in Brussels on Thursday. The UK prime minister was rebuffed from attending a meeting of Britain’s traditional European allies — including the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic countries — on the sidelines of the summit.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, was invited to that meeting, said: “We are all small northern European states with open trading economies, similarly values, very similar economies. That is going to be particularly important when we lose our biggest traditional ally, Britain, in a year or two.”

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