The much-billed speech on Britain’s future relationship with the EU is out. Prime Minister, Theresa May stood at a lectern and read a winding text that dipped into the live subjects of the moment. Watching a recording of her big speech was like watching an Open University seminar. Last year, to appease her Party, Theresa May used the slogan: Brexit means Brexit. This has gone. Many of the costs of leaving the European Union were addressed. There was little, if anything about the benefits of leaving.
So, if Brexit happens here are a few of the troublesome problems seeking solutions.
There’s a positive recognition that a “level playing field” is essential for an EU-UK relationship to be sustainable. The devil is in the detail and on that front much remains to be discovered.
She continues to say that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is ruled out of deciding disputes between EU-UK. Its clear that the ECJ plays a part but what part is yet to be determined.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of a good deal on the flow of “data” between EU and UK. This aspiration makes good sense if only a whole new way of working didn’t have to be set-up in one year.
She accepts that people will still want to work and study in EU countries. However, there’s no clarity on how such movement will be relatively easy.
Looking at ways the UK could remain part of some EU Agencies is to be welcomed. However, our membership will be inferior to the 27 EU Member States in the three mentioned: the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Divergence from the EU on Agriculture seems inevitable. Its assumed that the maintenance of high standards continues to be the UK’s goal. An assumption like this could get traded away in the need for a future deal with Countries like the US.
The Prime Minister suggested that she wants to remain part of the science and innovation framework programmes. There will be a major cost to this objective.
Overall, I would quote Benjamin Franklin: “Necessity never made a good bargain.” The UK needs a good deal, but it will be inferior to membership of the EU. May’s speech is well crafted as political theatre. She has got people feeling good about accepting an inferior situation.