Monday, 29 February 2016
Does this really need to be spelled out again?
There, see. A bespoke agreement inside two years under Article 50 is just not going to happen. That means, as per yesterday's post, the EEA will be the most likely default option. Everybody wants this done with the least amount of fuss, the least amount of uncertainty and continuity of trade. As much as neither side wants any headaches, it will also be negotiated by a government that doesn't actually want to leave - so will opt for the relationship that most resembles EU membership.
As you can see from the table below this post, that gives us a great many immediate advantages. Kippers will complain that it means freedom of movement but this isn't a referendum on immigration - this is a referendum on leaving the EU. In any case, leaving the EU does nothing about asylum laws or human rights laws that really do give us less control than we should have. Ending freedom of movement solves little, if anything.
Incidentally, the above table demonstrates a singularly excellent reason why we should leave the EU in that it takes several years to accomplish deals when we could be making individual deals, smaller in scope - and enjoying the advantages of them while the EU is still sat at the table.
But yes, an EEA deal still means we pay into the budget (and we always will) and no it doesn't mean any major deregulation. It means we pay a lot less, and it means we get control of fishing and agriculture back along with trade aid and energy policy. There are limitation to this option, but as we continue to spell out, Brexit is a process not an event. There are pitfalls, but also a great many freedoms and future opportunities.
Adding our weight to Efta, we then have sufficient clout and leverage to renegotiate the EEA agreement at a later date, including freedom of movement, which is due for review anyway. Those are negotiations we would never get while we remain in the EU, especially not after this referendum and the sham reforms of David Cameron. IF you don't like it, that's tough. This is how it's going down, and your only other option is to stay in the EU. Got it?
And no, there are no other routes than Article 50. It is the law, it's in the treaty we signed and it is the only mechanism that compels the EU to come to the table to agree a settlement. The only other way is to withdraw unilaterally - which utterly shafts us, the EU and all of our trading partners. Nobody wants that and no government would ever do it - and if they tried, parliament would stop them.
You can't have everything you want all at once and you can't immediately have it all your own way without some compromise. Only toddlers think otherwise. Can we please move on now and focus on winning??