10 July 2017

May to call for other parties to “come forward with your views” ahead of Repeal Bill publication this week

Ahead of Thursday’s publication of the Repeal Bill, Prime Minister Theresa May will tomorrow call on other parties to “come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country. We may not agree on everything, but through debate and discussion…ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found.” The Repeal Bill, which will transpose the body of EU law into domestic law, is expected to encounter backlash when it is debated in the autumn.

Open Europe’s director, Henry Newman, is quoted in the Financial Times saying, “This is an enormously significant bill…The macropolitics are that the bill will pass [because the Conservatives and Labour both back Brexit]. The question is with what amendments.”

Source: Open Europe blog: Booth The Times Financial Times Financial Times

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President Trump says US-UK trade deal will be agreed "very, very quickly" after Brexit

Following talks with Prime Minister Theresa May at last week’s G20 summit, US President Donald Trump pledged to agree a trade deal with the UK “very, very quickly” after Brexit. He indicated it would be a “very, very big deal, a very powerful deal” that would be “great for both countries.” He also confirmed he would organise an official visit to the UK.

Following the summit, Theresa May said, “I held a number of meetings with other world leaders at this summit and have been struck by their strong desire to forge ambitious, new bilateral trading relationships with the UK after Brexit,” citing China, Japan and India in particular. She added, “This is a powerful vote of confidence in British goods, British services, Britain’s economy and for British people.”

Separately, when asked if a US trade deal would be enough to offset the cost of leaving the EU, Justice Secretary David Lidington told Andrew Marr, “It would not be enough on its own, no. But it would be a very good thing to have, as would trade deals with the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America.”

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Chancellor: Losing access to European markets would have an "instant effect" on UK economy

Speaking at the G20 summit on Friday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said, “The thing that I remind my colleagues is that if we lose access to our European markets, that will be an instant effect – overnight.” He was also sceptical of the benefits of free trade agreements, saying, “Obviously we do a large amount of trade outside the EU at the moment, so we have a trade base which works without special agreements or free trade arrangements. Much of our trade with the world is also service trade, where free trade agreements won’t make any particular difference.” He added, “I’ve been clear that I do not believe it is either legally or politically possible to stay in the customs union and in the single market. My preference is that we negotiate a transitional structure which takes us outside of those memberships but in the transition phase replicates as much as possible of the existing arrangements so that the shock to business is minimised for the transition period.”

Separately, two of Germany’s biggest industry groups have told the Observer that their first priority in Brexit discussions is to maintain the integrity of the single market and its four freedoms of goods, capital, services and movement.

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Conservative MPs criticise government's Brexit red line on leaving Euratom and ECJ involvement

In a comment piece for The Sunday Telegraph, Labour MP Rachel Reeves and Conservative MP Ed Vaizey argue for a “rethink” of the government’s plan to exit the European Atomic Energy Community, Euratom. They write, “It appears the problem with continued membership comes down to the involvement of the European Court of Justice [ECJ] in its oversight,” adding, “It does require us to continue to allow the free movement of nuclear scientists.” They dismiss this reasoning, saying, “The UK must remain a beacon for global talent after Brexit – indeed, that is the Government’s stated aim.”

Elsewhere, other Conservative MPs have criticised the Prime Minister’s red line over ECJ jurisdiction. Former minister Dominic Grieve has called for a more “open” approach, saying, “Some of the attitudes to the ECJ seem to be a bit knee jerk.” Former Education minister, Nicky Morgan, said the government’s “absolutist” stance could undermine the possibility of securing a good deal.

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Verhofstadt: UK’s offer on EU citizens’ rights post-Brexit risks creating second-class citizenship

EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has called the UK’s offer on EU citizens’ rights post-Brexit a “damp squib” that risks “creating second-class citizenship.” Writing in The Guardian, he said, “The European parliament will reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens, regardless of their nationality, less favourably than they are at present.” On the question of the European Court of the Justice’s role, he said, “While we have the greatest respect for the British legal system, courts apply the laws adopted by British politicians, who are currently unable to give sufficient guarantees for the years to come, let alone for a lifetime. British and European citizens should be able to enforce their rights under a mechanism in which the European court of justice plays a full role.” He also argued, “Brexit negotiations must be completed by 30 March 2019; we will not support any extension to this deadline, because it would require the UK to hold European elections in May 2019. That is simply unthinkable.”

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Vince Cable: Brexit may never happen

Vince Cable, the likely leader of the Liberal Democrats, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, “I’m beginning to think that Brexit may never happen. The problems are so enormous, the divisions within the two major parties are so enormous. I can see a scenario in which this doesn’t happen.” He added that his party’s promise of a referendum on the final Brexit deal could offer “a way out when it becomes clear the Brexit is potentially disastrous.”

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France lays out plans to encourage the City's finance industries to relocate to Paris

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe last week laid out reforms to boost the attractiveness of France’s business environment and encourage those leaving the City of London to relocate to Paris post-Brexit. These measures include elimating the top-rated income tax bracket, and abandoning the extension of the existing tax on financial transitions. For particular “risk-taking” occupations, bonuses will be excluded from severance pay calculations, reducing the cost of firing these workers. The government will also open three new international schools. Valérie Pecresse, the president of the Parisian region in France, said, “To investors, and to those disappointed by Brexit, I want to say that we are ready to roll out the blue, white and red carpet for you…Welcome back to Europe.”

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Enrico Letta: Only France can rebalance Germany in Europe

In an interview with Le Figaro, former Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, said, “For Europe’s good health, for its future, it must be rebalanced against Germany’s dominance over the past ten years.” He added, “The only way to rebalance Germany…can be found in France’s hands. Germany has a respect for France, heightened by the fact that Brexit leaves France as the only global nuclear power with a right of veto at the UN [security council] in the European bloc.”

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Newman: EU-Japan deal shows UK and EU can agree on a post-Brexit comprehensive trade agreement

Writing in Conservative Home, Open Europe’s Henry Newman argues that the recent EU-Japan trade deal (JEEPA) is “another example of a potential deep and comprehensive trade agreement of the very sort the UK itself will want to agree with the EU once we leave.” He continued, “JEEPA provides a helpful model as the agreement specifically notes that trade in car components will be liberalised. JEEPA also provides for the potential for liberal cumulation…This sort of arrangement is exactly what the UK needs from its future FTA with the EU. To repeat the point, if Japan can have such an offer then why can’t the UK?”  Newman argues, “It’s not necessarily correct that the deal (if it’s signed) won’t apply to the UK when we leave. The Government is seeking to ‘grandfather’ across the EU’s existing free trade deals, including the Canada deal CETA, just as Open Europe proposed in our report on leaving the Customs Union: Nothing to Declare.”

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