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Theresa May’s speech on future relations between Britain and the EU

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Here is the full text of Theresa Mays Mansion House speech outlining her vision for UK relations with the EU after Brexit.

I am here today to set out my vision for the future economic partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

There were many different opinions and opinions in the debate about what our new relations with the EU should look like. I listened to them all attentively.

But while we are on the way with the EU, I would like to look back for a moment.

Eighteen months ago, I was on Downing Street, addressing the nation for the first time as prime minister.

I then made that promise to the people I serve: I know that you work around the clock, I know that you are doing your very best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.

The government I lead is not guided by the interests of the few privileged but by your own interests. We will do everything to give you more control over your life. If we accept the big calls, we are not thinking of the powerful but of you. When we pass new laws, we will not listen to the powerful but to you. When it comes to taxes, we will not favor the rich, but you. When it comes to opportunities, we will not consolidate the benefits of the lucky few. We will do everything in our power to help everyone, whatever their background may be.

We are experiencing an important moment in the history of our country.

As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make a country Britain that does not work for a privileged few, but for each one of us.

This promise to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.

Five tests

And that means five things to me:

First, the agreement we have with the EU must respect the referendum. It was a vote to gain control of our borders, laws and money. And a vote for further change, so that no community in the UK will ever be left behind. But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbors.

Secondly, the new agreement we have with the EU must be sustainable. After Brexit, both Britain and the EU want to push ahead with building a better future for our people and not be back at the negotiating table because things have collapsed.

Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the United Kingdom have voted in favor of our country having a new and different relationship with Europe, but while resources can change our common goals, they certainly do not need to work together to increase our economies and protect our people.

Fourth, it must be in line with the kind of country we want to be when we go: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, discoverers and creators. A country that celebrates our history and diversity, convinced of our place in the world; this fulfills its obligations to our close neighbors and distant friends and is proud to stand up for its values.

And fifth, in all of these things, it must strengthen our unification of nations and our union of people.

We need to reunite our country and take into account the views of all who are interested in this issue from both sides of the debate.

As Prime Minister, it is my duty to represent our entire United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. North and South, from coastal cities and rural villages to our big cities.

So these are the five tests for the deal we’re going to negotiate.

Implementation of the decision of the British people; achieve a lasting solution; Protection of our security and prosperity; deliver a result that matches the kind of country we want to be; and bringing our country together, strengthening the precious union of all our people.

Crucial moment

We are now approaching a decisive moment.

The complexity of the task ahead can not be avoided. We do not just have to negotiate our exit from an organization that touches so many important parts of our national life. We also need to build a new and lasting relationship as we prepare ourselves for each scenario, given the uncertainty inherent in these negotiations.

But we are making real progress. At the end of last year, we agreed on the essential elements of our withdrawal.

We are in the process of converting this agreement into a legal text. We have voiced our concern about the first draft of the Commission, which was published on Wednesday – but no one should doubt our commitment to the joint report that we agreed in December.

We are about to reach an agreement on the terms of an implementation period, which was a key element of the deal in December. Of course, there are some differences, but I am confident that they will be resolved in the coming days.

Both in the UK and in the EU, it is clear that this transposition deadline must be temporary and can not become a permanent solution. But it’s important to give governments, businesses, and citizens on both sides the time they need to prepare for our new relationship.

If this is agreed, I want both sides to focus all our attention and efforts on this new relationship.

But before we can do that, we need to explain in more detail what relationship we want to have, building on my Lancaster House and Florence speeches.

That’s why I talked about the security partnership we’re looking for in Munich last month. And today I want to talk about the other pillar of this relationship: how we build our economic partnership.

Not Norway nor Canada

In my speech in Florence, I explained why the existing models for economic partnership either do not have the ambitions we need or impose untenable constraints on our democracy.

For example, the Norway model where we would stay in the single market would mean that new EU legislation would have to be implemented automatically and in its entirety – and that would also mean continued freedom of movement.

Others have suggested that we negotiate a free trade agreement similar to that Canada has recently negotiated with the EU – or trade with the terms of the World Trade Organization.

But these options would significantly reduce our access to the other markets compared to what we currently enjoy.

And this would mean customs and regulatory controls at the border, which would damage the integrated supply chains that our industry depends on and are incompatible with the commitments we and the EU have made with regard to Northern Ireland.

This is a broader topic in our negotiations and I would like to talk about it shortly.

Successive British governments have worked tirelessly to work with all parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish Government to bring about the historic achievement of peace.

This is an achievement that we should all be proud of and protect. That is why I have consistently placed the Belfast Agreement at the center of the British approach.

Our exit from the EU presents Northern Ireland and Ireland with particular challenges. We joined the EU 45 years ago. It is not surprising that our decision to go has caused fear and desire for concrete solutions.

It has always been clear to us that we do not want to return to a hard border in Ireland. We have excluded any physical infrastructure at the border or any associated controls and controls.

But it is not good enough to say, “We will not introduce a hard border, and if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s up to them.” We decided to go; We are responsible for finding a solution.

But we can not do it alone. It is for us all to work together. And the Taoiseach and I agreed when we met recently that our teams and the Commission should do just that.

I want to make a last point. Just as it would be unacceptable to return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, it would be unacceptable to break the UK’s Common Market by establishing a customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea. My personal commitment is clear.

As Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom, I will not allow our withdrawal from the European Union to push back the historic progress we have made in Northern Ireland – and I will not tolerate anything that would damage the integrity of our valuable goods.

Hard facts

Therefore, existing models do not offer the best way forward for either the UK or the EU.

But before I come to what a new and better model might look like, I want to deal with people directly – because the reality is that we all have to face some hard facts.

We leave the internal market. Life will be different. In a sense, our access to the markets of others will be less than today. How could the structure of EU rights and obligations be maintained if the UK – or any country – could enjoy all the benefits without any obligations?

So we have to find a new balance. But we will not accept the rights of Canada and the obligations of Norway.

The second hard fact is that EU law and ECJ rulings will continue to affect us even after leaving the ECJ’s jurisdiction.

First of all, the ECJ determines whether agreements reached by the EU are legal under EU law – as the US states, when the ECJ annulled the Safe Harbor Data Sharing Framework.

If we leave the EU, the Revocation Law will bring EU law into British law. This means that cases are decided in our courts. But if necessary, our courts will continue to review the judgments of the ECJ, as well as the case law of other courts.

And if, as part of our future partnership, Parliament passes an identical law to EU law, it may make sense for our courts to review the relevant judgments of the ECJ so that we both interpret these laws consistently.

As I said in Munich, if we agree that the United Kingdom should continue to participate in an EU agency, the United Kingdom would have to respect the ECJ’s responsibilities.

But in the future, EU treaties, and therefore EU law, will cease to apply in the UK. The agreement we reach must therefore respect the sovereignty of both the UK and European legal systems. This means that the jurisdiction of the ECJ must end in the UK. It also means that the ultimate arbiter of disputes about our future partnership can not be the court of both parties.

The next hard fact is that. If we want to have good access to each other’s markets, we have to have fair conditions. As with any trade agreement, we must accept the need for binding commitments. For example, we may decide to bind some areas of our regulations, such as state aid and competition, in line with those of the EU.

The UK has driven much of the policy in this area and we have much to gain by maintaining appropriate disciplines in the use of subsidies and anticompetitive practices.

Moreover, as I said in Florence, we have the same basic beliefs. a belief in free trade, rigorous and fair competition, strong consumer rights, and the attempt to beat the industries of other countries by unfairly subsidizing their own is a grave mistake.

And in other areas, such as workers’ rights or the environment, the EU should be confident that we will not run a race to the bottom in the standards and safeguards we set. There is no serious political group in the UK that would support this – quite the contrary.


Finally, we need to resolve the tensions between some of our key goals.

We want the freedom to negotiate trade agreements with other countries around the world. We want to take back control of our laws. We also want to create a smooth border between ourselves and the EU – so that we do not damage the integrated supply chains on which our industry depends and have no hard line between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

But there are also some tensions in the EU’s position – and some hard facts to confront.

The Commission has proposed that the only option available to the United Kingdom is a “off the peg” model.

At the same time, however, they also said that in certain areas none of the EU agreements would be appropriate for third countries.

And the guidelines of the European Council aim for a balanced, ambitious and far-reaching agreement, which in some areas contains common rules to ensure fair and open competition.

This would not be achieved by a Canadian-style deal that would not give them the breadth or depth of market access they want. And it is difficult to understand how it would be in the interest of the EU that British regulatory standards be as different as Canada’s.

After all, we must both face the fact that this is a negotiation and none of us can have exactly what we want. But I am confident that we can agree.

Future partnership

We both want good access to the markets of others; we want the competition between us to be fair and open; and we want reliable, transparent means to check that we meet our obligations and settle disputes.

But it is clear that in order to achieve our goals, we both need to look beyond precedents and find a new balance.

In terms of security, I seek a relationship that transcends the transaction, a relationship in which we support each other’s interests.

Therefore, I want the most comprehensive and deepest possible partnership – covering more sectors and more fully cooperating than any free trade agreement anywhere in the world. And as I will continue to describe, we will also need agreements in a number of areas that cover the breadth of our relationship.

I believe that this is achievable because it is in the interest of both the EU and ours.

The EU is the UK’s largest market – and of course Britain is also a big market for the EU. And besides, we have a unique starting point where we have the same laws and rules on the first day.

So instead of bringing two different systems closer together, the task will be to manage the relationship once we have two separate legal systems.

To do that, we need to create five foundations that must support our trade relations.

First, our agreement will require mutual binding commitments to ensure fair and open competition.

Such agreements are part of a trade agreement. Why should any country enter into a privileged economic partnership without an appeal if the other party practices anticompetitive practices?

However, given the degree of integration between the UK and EU markets and our geographical proximity, these mutual obligations will be particularly important in ensuring that UK companies can compete fairly in EU markets and vice versa.

A comprehensive and comprehensive agreement with the EU must therefore include commitments that reflect the extent to which the economies of the United Kingdom and the EU are intertwined.

Secondly, we need an arbitration mechanism that is completely independent, which in turn is common to the free trade agreement.

This will ensure that disputes about the purpose or scope of the agreement can be resolved fairly and promptly.

Thirdly, given the close relationship that we envisage, we need to maintain a constant dialogue with the EU and ensure that we have the resources to consult regularly.

In particular, we will want to ensure that our supervisors continue to work together. how they do it with the regulators at the international level. This will be crucial from procuring new medicines to patients and maintaining financial stability. We start at the place where our regulators already have deep and long-standing relationships. The task is therefore to maintain that trust; I do not build it at all.

Fourth, we need an agreement on data protection.

I raised this point in Munich about our security relationship. But even in every modern trade relationship, the free flow of data is crucial for both sides. The United Kingdom has an exceptionally high standard of data protection. And we want to reach an agreement with the EU that will create stability and trust for businesses and individuals in the EU and the UK to achieve our goals of maintaining and developing the United Kingdom’s strong trade and economic relations with the EU.

For this reason, we will seek more than just a fairness agreement and want to see an appropriate ongoing role for the UK Data Protection Officer’s office. This will ensure that UK companies are effectively represented in the EU’s new one-stop-shop mechanism for settling disputes over data protection issues.

And fifth, we need to maintain the links between our people.

EU citizens are an integral part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our country. I know that British citizens are viewed in the same way by communities across the EU. That is why at every stage of these negotiations, I put the interests of EU citizens and British nationals at the center of our approach.

We are sure that the free movement of people will come to an end as we leave the EU and we will control the number of people living in our country.

But British citizens will continue to want to work and learn in EU countries – just as EU citizens do the same, helping to shape and drive growth, innovation and entrepreneurship.

In fact, companies in the EU and the UK need to be able to attract and hire the people they need. And we are open to discussing how we can facilitate these valuable connections.

Market access

Mutual obligations to ensure fair and open competition, independent arbitration, ongoing dialogue, data protection rules and the maintenance of links between our citizens. These are the foundations that underline the ambition of this unique and unparalleled partnership.

It then has to be tailored to the needs of our economies.

This follows the approach the EU has followed in the past with its trade agreements – with its own internal market as it has evolved.

The EU agreement with Ukraine sees agreement with the EU in some areas, but not in others. The EU’s agreement with South Korea includes provisions that mutually recognize each other’s licenses for new car models, while their agreement with Canada does not provide for this. The EU agreement with Canada also contains provisions that mutually recognize the testing of machinery. his agreement with South Korea not.

The EU itself is rightly pursuing a tailor-made approach to what it is aiming for with the United Kingdom. For example, in the fisheries sector, the Commission has made it clear that there are no precedents for the type of access they want from the United Kingdom.

The fact is that each free trade agreement has different market access, depending on the interests of the countries involved. If raisin pecking, then every trade arrangement is a raisin picking.

In addition, the EU has different access to the single market with all its neighbors, depending on the commitments that these neighbors are willing to accept.

What would cherry picking be when we seek an agreement that does not balance our rights and obligations? And I am categorically clear that we will not do that.

I think it is pragmatic common sense that we should work together to achieve the best result for both sides.

Trade in goods

Let me begin with how we do this for goods.

This is the area where the single market is most established, and both the United Kingdom and the EU have a strong commercial interest in preserving integrated supply chains that have built up over forty years of membership.

When it comes to goods, a basic principle of our bargaining strategy should be that trade on the border between Britain and the EU should be as smooth as possible.

That means we do not want to introduce tariffs or quotas. And, as the Secretary of State for leaving the European Union said in his speech in Vienna last week, we need to ensure that, as before, products only have to go through a series of permits in one country to show that they meet the EU’s requirements meet required regulatory standards.

To achieve this, we need a comprehensive system of mutual recognition.

The UK needs to do its utmost to ensure that its regulatory standards remain as high as those of the EU. In practice, this commitment will result in UK and EU regulatory standards remaining substantially similar in the future.

Many of these regulatory standards are underpinned by international standards set by non-EU bodies to which we will continue to belong, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which sets standards for vehicle safety. Countries around the world, including Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Japan and Russia, are parties to the agreement.

As I said in my speech in Florence, this could be achieved in a number of ways.

Our standard is that British law does not necessarily have to be identical to EU law, but it should produce the same results.

In some cases, Parliament could adopt an identical law – companies exporting to the EU tell us that it is in their interest to have a single set of rules, meaning that they can sell to the UK and European markets.

If Parliament of the day has decided not to achieve the same results as EU law, it would be aware that this could have consequences for our market access.

And there will have to be an independent mechanism to oversee these arrangements.

We will also want to explore with the EU the conditions under which the UK could remain part of EU agencies important to the chemical, pharmaceutical and aviation industries: the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Medicines Agency Union Aviation Safety Agency.

We would, of course, accept that this would mean adhering to the rules of these agencies and making a reasonable financial contribution.

I would like to explain what I believe could be the benefits of this approach for us and the EU.

First, belonging to these agencies is the only way to achieve our goal of ensuring that these products only pass through a series of approvals in one country.

Second, these agencies play a crucial role in defining and enforcing relevant rules. And if we could negotiate associated membership, we would be able to ensure that we can continue to provide our technical expertise.

Third, associate membership could allow UK companies to solve certain agency-related challenges through UK courts rather than the ECJ.

For example, in the case of Switzerland, associate membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency means that airworthiness certificates are issued by their own aviation authority and disputes settled by their courts. Without their membership, Swiss airlines would need to obtain their certifications through another Member State or through the Agency, and all disputes would have to be resolved by the ECJ.

Fourth, it would bring other benefits. For example, membership of the European Medicines Agency would mean that the UK continues to invest in new innovative medicines, and these medicines reach patients more quickly, as companies favor larger markets when they request the lengthy process of approval ,

But it would also be good for the EU because the UK regulator rates more new medicines than any other Member State. And the EU would continue to draw on the expertise of leading British universities.

And of course, Parliament would ultimately remain sovereign. It might decide not to accept these rules, but with consequences for our membership in the agency concerned and the associated market access rights.

Customs partnership

In order to achieve the smoothest possible border and to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, we also need a customs agreement.

The UK is clear that it is leaving the Customs Union. The EU has also formed a customs union with some other countries.

However, applying these rules to the United Kingdom would mean that the EU sets the United Kingdom’s foreign tariffs and makes other countries sell more in the UK without making it easier for us to sell them or the United Kingdom signs the common commercial policy.

That would not be compatible with a meaningful independent trade policy. It would mean that we have less control than we now have over our trade in the world. Neither let nor stay voters want that.

We have seriously considered how to best meet our commitment to a smooth border. And last year we outlined two possible options for our customs agreement.

Option one is a customs partnership between the United Kingdom and the EU. At the border, the UK would reflect EU requirements for imports from the rest of the world and apply the same tariffs and rules of origin as the EU for goods arriving in the United Kingdom intended for the EU.

If we follow this approach, we would know that all goods entering the EU via the UK pay the correct EU tariffs, eliminating customs procedures at the UK-EU border.

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