David Davis’ Foundations of the Future Economic Partnership Speech, Vienna, 20 February 2018

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 20.02.18
Publication Date 20/02/2018
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Background information

A further set of EU-UK Article 50 Negotiations took place between officials in Brussels, 6-9 February 2018. However, after the talks lead EU negotiator Michel Barnier gave a downbeat assessment of the state of the negotiations. In particular, in connection with the issue of preventing a return to a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. There would be a need to maintain full regulatory alignment with the rules of the Single Market and the Customs Union – current or future – which supported North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the Good Friday Agreement. As a result, and because the UK had come up with no practical operational solutions, the European Commission would need to legally define how this scenario would work in operational terms.

Commentators saw this as an ultimatum from the European Commission forcing the UK Government to come down on the side of a continued participation in the EU Customs Union or to take the Brexiteers line and not accept any such continued participation and, potentially, no agreed transitional period deal.

Other continuing disagreements between the two sides involved:

+ the UK's refusal to guarantee permanent rights to EU nationals who came to live and work in the UK after March 2019 during the transition period
+ the rights of the UK to object to new EU rules and laws during the transition period ('implementation period')
+ whether the UK could continue to participate in new justice and home affairs policies during the transition period.

News sources over the weekend of 10-11 February 2018 indicated that Downing Street had made it clear that the Prime Minister and senior ministers would make a series of six Road to Brexit speeches over the coming days to try and clarify what it wanted from the EU.

The first two speeches in this series were:

+ 14.02.18: Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary)
+ 17.02.18: Theresa May (Prime Minister) at the Munich Security Conference.
+ 20.02.18: David Davis (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
+ 20.02.18: Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade)

Theresa May would give a second speech on the 2 March 2018 as would David Lidington. Commentators noted that Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond, seen as more pro-EU ministers, were not part of this list.

The speech in Vienna on the 20 February 2018 given by David Davis was part of this series.Report and analysis of a speech Foundations of the Future Economic Partnership given by David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union to Austrian business leaders in Vienna on the 20 February 2018.

Source Link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/david-davis-foundations-of-the-future-economic-partnership-speech
Related Links
BBC News, 20.02.18: Post-Brexit UK won't be like Mad Max, says David Davis http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43120277
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union http://www.europeansources.info/record/brexit-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union/
The Guardian, 20.02.18: [Comment]: Another day another cabinet minister's confusing Brexit vision https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/20/another-day-another-cabinet-ministers-confusing-brexit-vision
Politico, 20.02.18: David Davis: No ‘race to the bottom’ post Brexit https://www.politico.eu/article/david-davis-no-race-to-the-bottom-post-brexit/
EurActiv, 20.02.18: Davis: UK will not have ‘Mad Max’ economy to undercut rivals https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/davis-britain-will-not-have-mad-max-economy-to-undercut-rivals/

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