EU General Affairs Council meets, responds to UK’s Brexit White Paper

EU General Affairs Council meets, responds to UK’s Brexit White Paper

Today, 27 EU member states will have a chance to examine and respond to the UK’s Brexit white paper, which was released on July 12.

michel-barnier

Photo: Reuters

Today, 27 EU member states will have a chance to examine and respond to the UK’s Brexit white paper, which was released on July 12.

On the key issue of trade, the UK is proposing to tie itself to EU rules on goods, despite not being in the common market. The white paper also proposes that London will stop the free movement of people, save for specific categories of workers it wants via “reciprocal mobility agreements”.

However, the chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, has consistently held that the UK cannot sign up to the benefits of the common market without undertaking the responsibilities of being in one—for example, the free movement of people.

The EU has recently concluded a huge free trade deal with Japan. With a separate free trade agreement unlikely to fully replace such a benefit, it’s in London’s interest to conclude a Brexit deal. Given this, expect the EU27 to pressure the UK to either be fully in or fully out of the common market. The “half-in, half-out” proposal outlined in the paper is likely to be opposed by Brussels.

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