WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland said on Tuesday that the risk of Britain dropping out of the European Union with no agreement on post-Brexit ties “cannot be ruled out” and it would spike if London and the bloc fail to agree details in October.
Britain’s political meltdown and disagreements with the bloc over issues including the Irish border cast an increasingly long shadow over chances for a broad deal to regulate their relationship from day one after Brexit, which is due next March.
A no-deal Brexit is widely expected to sow chaos for people and businesses alike as there would be little clarity over what replaces more than four decades of collaboration on everything from food safety standards to airline regulations.
“The European Council sitting ... to be held in October, 2018, will be a key moment,” the Polish government said in a statement referring to a meeting of EU leaders planned in Brussels.
Talks with Prime Minister Theresa May will be followed by discussions between the remaining 27 leaders on whether they find acceptable whatever deal emerges with London by then.
“If there is no binding agreements, the risk of a fiasco of talks will rise significantly,” Warsaw said, adding it would then move to safeguard the interests of its entrepreneurs and citizens, of which there are about one million living in Britain.
Social discontent with workers arriving in masses from the poorer eastern EU states like Poland in search for better-paid jobs in Britain played a big role in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
EU immigration to Britain, including from Poland, has fallen since.
“EU net migration continues to add to the UK population with around 100,000 more EU citizens coming to the UK than leaving,” the country’s Office for National Statistics said this month.
“The estimated number of EU citizens coming to the UK ‘looking for work’ continued to decrease over the last year and the number coming to the UK for a definite job has remained stable.’
Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Richard Balmforth