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Ben Kelly @TheScepticIsle
, 16 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
There are people on the Leave side, like me, who find economic integration acceptable but oppose political union. We didn't used to be so isolated. ‘Common market good, political union bad’, this is the classic Eurosceptic mantra that has been doing the rounds for years.
This has of course been rejected post-ref by the most prominent Leavers who have become radicalised and obsessed about EU regulation. Seemingly blind to the fact that trade is facilitated by regulatory convergence, and it makes sense to converge with closest trade partners
Since the referendum, they have argued that the whole idea of a “common market” is akin to EU membership. This means that Single Market membership or anything close to it is unacceptable . Apparently, it is a betrayal to have common product standards to facilitate trade.
They champion regulatory divergence. This will allow flexibility in trade negotiations, but will mean increased barriers to trade with the EU, and neglects the fact that alignment with EU regs maximises access to more markets than alignment to US... anyway..
At the heart of their stance there is a fundamental contradiction. Conservative Brexiteers are champions of free trade. They think open markets and free trade boost our economy and bring tangible benefits to British consumers....
Thus, they want to an independent trade strategy to pursue these aims and take advantage of Britain’s global links and historical relationships. This position taken in isolation is not unreasonable....
However, the contradiction is that for these same Brexiteers a necessary pre-requisite to their position is a significant downgrade of our trading relationship with the EU. So, they like free trade, but are vehemently opposed to the existing framework for trade with the EU –
an agreement that has gone further than any other in abolishing
barriers to trade in goods and services – and wish to replace it with a Free
Trade Agreement which will greatly increase barriers and make trade with the EU
significantly less free. Why?
When pressed, the only benefits they can say are a more comprehensive trade agreement with the US, and Boris said something about carrots.... But the benefits that brings are outweighed by barriers divergence creates...
Meanwhile, EEA members have harmonised regulation and robust institutions managing the agreement & ability to shape the rules while also signing a number of trade agreements with other countries to increase their competitiveness - economically, best of both worlds?
Before you ask, I don't now think the actual EEA option is a possibility, for a number of reasons, but an agreement which involves deep economic integration managed by robust & permeant joint institutions that is more EEA than CETA is possible & should be pursued
If some Brexiteers want to see this as CETA+ or +++ then fine, but it isn't. An FTA isn't adequate for a UK-EU partnership.
Basically, it's going to be closer to EEA than CETA. Likely a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement as part of an overarching Association Agreement encompassing a trade & investment partnership with wide ranging cooperation in various fields
This should include a joint court, council, committees, surveillance authority etc.
It must also include preferential and liberal EU migration policy, short of free movement I suppose, but a million miles away, participation in some EU programmes etc and some form of payment into the system in exchange for cooperation (it doesn't come for free)
If this is where we end up, it's a successful Brexit. A new system for trade & cooperation between the UK and the EU. Economic integration, a strong alliance with wide ranging cooperation, end of political union.
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