The Government’s chief future relationship negotiator David Frost set out the UK’s stall for future relationship agreement with the EU. It could hardly be more different from the approach taken under the previous government.
In his landmark speech at ULB Brussels University last night, Frost laid out the Burkean principles behind Brexit – explaining that British eurosceptics had always felt uncomfortable with the European imposition of a new order as opposed to the UK’s evolution over a millennium. He also touched on practical details shooting down the those who said that one year was too short a time to negotiate the future relationship, citing that the original Treaty of Rome “was negotiated and signed in just under 9 months”.
Perhaps most importantly of all, it was made clear that the UK is unafraid of more friction as a price of being an independent country. “we aim to manage it down as far as we can through modern customs facilitation arrangements – and I am convinced that other factors will outweigh it.” These other factors look to Guido like domestic regulatory innovation – supercharging the vast majority of the UK economy that does not trade with the EU…
Unlike Olly Robbins’ desire for a unique, aligned relationship, Frost made clear that the UK wants the same relationship that independent countries like Canada have with the EU – reiterating the Prime Minister’s point that the UK would not expect the EU to follow its high standards, and demanding a partnership of equals. He went on to set out in no uncertain terms the whole point of Brexit:
It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has. So to think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing. That isn’t a simple negotiating position which might move under pressure – it is the point of the whole project. That’s also why we are not going to extend the transition period beyond the end of this year. At the end of this year, we would recover our political and economic independence in full – why would we want to postpone it? That is the point of Brexit.
Will the EU finally see that now..?