United Kingdom calls for close economic ties in Brexit white paper

Marco Green
July 12, 2018

Prior to the government's publication of the white paper, an alternative white paper - reportedly drawn up by the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) - was obtained by the ConservativeHome website.

The proposals were hammered out last week during a summit of ministers at Chequers.

It's not just a concern for bankers.

The 98-page document calls for a relationship which is "broader in scope than any other that exists between the European Union and a third country" and reflects "the EU's deep history, close ties and unique starting point" with the UK.

Britain would leave the EU's Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy. He said the government had "missed a trick by holding back on detail in several areas" and criticised the paper for not detailing the dispute resolution system that would operate for business when outside the European court of justice's purview.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiatior, Michel Barnier, said he would analyse the white paper.

The white paper said the immigration plans were "consistent with the ending of free movement, respecting the UK's control of its borders".

But it also says that because of the deep cross-Channel links, "equivalence" is not good enough either.

But the plan has infuriated fervent Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party, who think it would limit Britain's ability to strike new trade deals around the world.

But it's also worth noting that the White Paper says the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) would have to be phased in - which is code for saying that it wouldn't be ready by the end of the proposed transition period in December 2020.

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.

The government is keen to address business demands that they only need to go through one approval mechanism to access both markets, in highly regulated parts of the economy.

The European Court of Justice will no longer have jurisdiction in the United Kingdom but the United Kingdom courts will have to pay "due regard" to its rulings.

Broadcasters have also expressed concern that UK-based worldwide business in their industry worth £1bn a year is threatened by Brexit and there are no solutions offered by the white paper.

"With looser trade ties to Europe, the financial and related professional services sector will be less able to create jobs, generate tax and support growth across the wider economy", she said. On this, the White Paper provides that in case of a dispute both Britain and the European Union should have the option of referring the issue to an "independent arbitration panel" which would include arbitrators from both sides.

The government has abandoned plans for a new relationship based on the concept of mutual recognition of financial regulations, partly because it had been so comprehensively rejected by the EU.

But it is still seeking something more ambitious than the "equivalence' regime" that the European Union has with most other third countries (part of the problem with that is that it can be withdrawn, by either side, with just 30 days notice).

May is under pressure to pursue a liberal post-Brexit immigration system amid staff shortages in the National Health Service and other industries.

The White Paper emphasises repeatedly that free movement of people will come to an end.

The white paper, which details ministers' plans for the future economic and security partnership with the EU, as well as other UK-EU cooperative and institutional arrangements, was previously expected last month but was delayed amid cabinet infighting.

But there are hints in this document of what could be to come - it sets out proposals for a mobility framework, which is pretty standard in trade agreements.

The 100-page document reveals that citizens coming to Britain from the continent will be allowed to "travel freely. for tourism and temporary business activity".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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