Negotiating aims will adhere to Theresa May’s 12 principles in securing a good EU exit deal, which would then be put before both houses of parliament, says Arj Singh.
The British government has set out its negotiating strategy for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Launching the keenly awaited, 77-page document, in the House of Commons, the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said it confirmed prime minister Theresa May’s vision of “an independent and truly global United Kingdom”.
Confirming that the UK’s strategy would be guided by the 12 principles set out by Ms May in her Lancaster House speech last month, Mr Davis said the British government was aiming for “a new, positive, and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union that works in our mutual interest”.
The white paper, entitled ‘The United Kingdom’s Exit From, And New Partnership With, The European Union’, was published a day after British MPs voted overwhelmingly to permit Mrs May to press ahead with withdrawal negotiations under Article 50 of the EU treaties.
The paper details how the British government intends to deliver on Ms May’s 12 objectives of certainty and clarity: taking control of laws; strengthening the union; protecting free-movement arrangements with Ireland; controlling immigration; securing rights for EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU; protecting workers’ rights; ensuring free trade with European markets; securing new trade agreements with other countries; promoting science and innovation; co-operating with EU states on fighting crime and terrorism; and delivering a “smooth, orderly” Brexit.
Here are the key points:
It will strike a new customs agreement, which may involve leaving the tariff-free customs union or remaining a partial signatory.
Because Britain has zero tariffs on goods and common regulations with the EU, a new trade deal could “take in elements” of current single-market arrangements.
UK taxpayers will no longer pay “vast” contributions into the Brussels budget, but may make an “appropriate” payment to take part in certain programmes.
The British government will attempt to strike trade deals with countries outside the EU.
The British government wants “seamless and frictionless” trade and movement of people across the border.
The new immigration system will be designed to help fill skills shortages and welcome “genuine” students.
However, any new approach could be “phased in” to give businesses and individuals time to plan and prepare for the new arrangements.
Businesses and communities will be consulted throughout, and the UK parliament will have an “important role” in shaping the new system, which is likely to be brought forward in its own legislation.
However, they will only do so when similar rights are guaranteed for the one million British immigrants in continental Europe.
The British government said it wants to resolve the issue before formal negotiations, but not all EU member states support this approach.
British ministers say arbitration systems are common in trade deals the EU strikes with other countries, such as with Canada or South Korea.
Ministers will seek to agree a deal on the new relationship within the two-year formal exit process, under Article 50, and then have a “phased process of implementation”, before being free of Brussels regulations.
The final deal will be put to a vote in both British houses of parliament.
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