United Kingdom calls for close economic ties in Brexit white paper

12 July, 2018, 22:39 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Michel Barnier said that although a conclusion “will be difficult” he is trying to avoid a no deal

The so-called Brexit White Paper has already shaken up Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership following resignations of her Brexit minister David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who disagreed with what is seen as a much closer alignment with the European Union (EU) than desired, as it would reportedly make trade deals with other countries more hard.

This is part of the pragmatic Brexit the government is now advocating, but it is not the resumption of full United Kingdom sovereignty that some leading leave campaigners had promised.

"I don't know if that is what they voted for", he said.

"They voted for us to take back control of our money, our law and our borders", she said. "That is exactly what we will do".

With less than nine months to go, it is a long-delayed decision and has not been without its consequences - Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned within hours of each other over a plan they said they could not defend.

Britain is now part of the EU's single market - which allows for the frictionless flow of goods and services among the 28 member states - and its tariff-free customs union for goods. The plans laid out in a 98-page government paper give Britain's most detailed answer yet to the question of what will replace it.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: "Seeking a free trade area for goods and a common rulebook shows the Prime Minister has put pragmatism before politics and should be applauded". Such a resolution would avoid disruption to automakers and other manufacturers that source parts from multiple countries.

It would also avoid border checks between British Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

It would use technology to apply British tariffs to goods intended for Britain, and the EU's tariffs on those intended for the bloc.


The government has proposed expanding the EU's existing so-called "equivalence" regime, which now covers access for non-EU partners like Japan and the United States to the region's financial services markets.

- Britain will also seek to ensure British and European Union citizens can still use each other's health services when overseas, and foreign residents can still access their pension entitlements.

The plan also seeks to keep Britain in major EU agencies, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the police agency Europol.

It wants to support businesses to move staff between the two territories, allows mobility for students and young people, and allow citizens to travel without visas for tourism and temporary business activity.

Looking at the reception to May's paper from the Tory leader's own party, the Guardian reported that "almost all the reaction from Conservative MPs was either sceptical, or downright hostile", noting particular "alarm" being expressed over the role that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) looks set to continue playing in Britain's affairs post-Brexit.

Pro-EU lawmakers, in contrast, think the proposed post-Brexit ties with the bloc are not close enough.

"Michel Barnier and his taskforce can not negotiate an outcome that compromises the integrity of the single market for everybody else".

"There are some proposals that will concern other European Union countries because the single market and the four freedoms that are part of that; that are indivisible in most people's eyes are a very important part of the privilege of European Union membership", said Mr Coveney.

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