The European Union’s proposals for the UK’s transition period make grim reading. They are the sort of terms which might be imposed by a victorious power in war on a defeated enemy. They are not terms which any self-respecting independent and sovereign country could possibly agree to, even for an allegedly limited period.
Apparently, we must agree to implement every new EU law while having no say or vote; and we shall not be allowed to conclude trade agreements, even to roll over existing agreements which the EU has with other countries so that they continue to apply to us, without the EU’s permission. We must abide by the rulings of a foreign court on which there will no longer be any British representation.
Apparently, an outrageous and demeaning proposal by the Commission that the UK should be subject to extra-judicial sanctions under which the EU could suspend market access rights is now to be “re-worded”. But that would still leave the UK extremely vulnerable to damaging new rules being imposed on us during the transition period by processed in which we would have no vote and no voice. As reported in the Telegraph last week, the EU has plans to use these powers in order to launch regulatory “raids” on financial institutions on British territory and to make rules which will damage the competitiveness of the UK’s financial services industry.
But quite apart from the totally unacceptable terms for the transition period itself which are being proposed by the EU, the EU is seeking to use the transition period deal as a lever to secure damaging long term commitments from the UK. The most damaging of these is the EU’s attempt to lever the Irish border issue in order to force the UK to act as a long term captive market for EU goods exports by pressing for legally binding text that would force us into a long term obligation to comply with EU tariffs and regulations on standards of goods, on the specious ground that it is impossible to have an open border without all tariffs and regulations being the same.
To read Martin Howe’s piece for BrexitCentral in full, click here.