Rishi Sunak warned against 'backdoor' moves to undo Brexit
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The UK voted to leave the European Union six years ago yet as Britain prepares for recession, many are questioning the impact of Brexit and the UK’s deal.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been urged to “revisit” the Brexit deal previously agreed upon with the European Union in an effort to establish closer ties with the bloc.
This week, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change called for the UK Government to revise the Brexit deal with the think tank claiming the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) should be improved when it is reviewed at the end of 2025.
But which sort of deal should the Prime Minister pursue? After years of tumultuous negotiations, is it safer to stick with the current deal, or try to branch out and forge his own path? Vote in our poll.
The current deal
After years of tense negotiations which saw the downfall of one Prime Minister (Theresa May), Boris Johnson signed the Withdrawal Agreement which included the EU-UK TCA and came into force at 11pm on December 31, 2020.
The deal is a basic “Canada-style” free trade agreement which positions the UK outside the EU’s customs union and single market. No tariffs or quotas will be enforced on trade between the UK and EU.
Instead of following one set of rules, UK businesses will have to comply with regulations in each individual country, with some new border and custom declaration checks introduced.
The role of the European Court of Justice in the UK was also ended which means the UK can “take back control” of its laws.
The deal, however, is not without its problems. In particular, the Northern Ireland border issue, and how to resolve what appears to be an ever-deepening crisis in Britain’s only country with an EU land border.
A Swiss-style Brexit could see the UK situated outside the EU but maintaining a close relationship with the bloc. The deal could allow the UK selective access to the single market and remove trade barriers.
Some argue that the deal would benefit the UK economy by allowing access to EU markets and financial services. However, such a deal would mean the UK would have to accept the principle of free movement, some jurisdiction of the European court and make contributions to Brussels.
Earlier this month a report by the Sunday Times claimed that senior Government figures were looking to form a closer relationship with the EU to help the UK navigate trade issues over the next 10 years.
Downing Street denied reports of a Swiss-style relationship with the bloc as “categorically untrue”.
A Norway-style Brexit could see the UK join the EEA and form a new customs union with the EU. This would eliminate the need for customs checks on the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.
This would mean that the UK remains a member of the EU Single Market but would not be forced to sign up for other EU policies on fishing and agriculture.
The deal would enable limited trade barriers while remaining outside of the bloc but the UK would have less influence on the decision-making process of EU laws.
However, substantial contributions to the EU budget would still be required and freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people would have to be allowed.
A no-deal Brexit would provide a clean break between the UK and the EU. This would give Britain the freedom to establish new trade deals and rules.
Some argue that this would offer a clean slate for the UK and stop payments to the bloc for outstanding finances.
Yet others suggest that this would have economic repercussions with tariffs on EU-UK trade and new regulations impacting the cost and availability of goods and services.
There would also be disruption at EU-UK border points as increased checks are enforced on trade and the movement of people would be restricted with UK citizens requiring a visa to stay in the EU for long periods.
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Former Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier urged Mr Sunak to “open his mind” about aligning with EU rules. He told The Independent last week: “We need to be able to have a conversation about alignment.
“The idea of a Swiss-style arrangement is not a bad direction, but is it the answer? No. It would take forever to arrange many bilateral agreements that the Swiss have with the EU.”
He added: “A better model is fuller access to the single market, whether it’s done by EEA (European Economic Area) membership or a bespoke arrangement. It’s time to open the mind and truly listen to business.”
So what do YOU think? Which Brexit style should the UK pursue? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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