28 March 2017

As the Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to trigger the Article 50 EU exit mechanism, Open Europe published a new reportNothing to declare: A plan for UK-EU trade outside the Customs Union.’ It shows in detail why the UK must leave the EU Customs Union to pursue an independent trade policy and achieve the Government’s aim of being a truly ‘Global Britain’ outside the EU. You can read a summary of the key findings here, or download the full report here.

The report has already received strong media coverage

The Times covered the report in its leading article, while the Guardian called it:

One of the most detailed reports yet on the implications of leaving the customs union.

The Daily Telegraph features an OpEd from Open Europe’s Director Henry Newman, and highlights the report’s recommendations in its Brexit bulletin and in a lengthy comment piece:

Open Europe makes a number of useful suggestions regarding what needs to be negotiated and agreed over the next two years… let us hope that they are adopted almost wholesale by the UK’s negotiating team.

Henry also discussed the report on the BBC’s Daily Politics show:

Bloomberg picks up one of the report’s core messages:

If you’re going to quit the European Union, just avoid “half in, half out” arrangements. That’s the message from think tank Open Europe to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, two days before she hands European allies divorce papers.

The Financial Times’ Brexit Briefing recommended the report in its further reading section:

Leaving the EU’s Customs Union is the only logical step for the UK to pursue an independent trade policy and achieve a truly “Global Britain” outside the EU, says Open Europe.

Reuters and the Irish Times quoted OE policy analyst Aarti Shankar saying that a comprehensive free trade agreement:

The UK and the EU should aim for full customs cooperation as part of a comprehensive free trade agreement. This is perfectly achievable, and the EU already holds customs facilitation agreements with other trade partners, including Switzerland and Canada.

The Sun and the Daily Express also cited the report, while UK and continental Twitter commentators showed interest: