Friday, 26 January 2018

Sur Le Pont David Non ...... Mr Davis's "Bridge"

By Chiugoran (Own work) 
CC BY-SA 3.0 (
via Wikimedia Commons

Jane Lambert

In my December Brexit Briefing 9 Jan 2018 I listed the terms of the transitional or implementation period between 30 March 2019 and 31 Dec 2020:
  • "There should be no "cherry picking": The United Kingdom will continue to participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms). 
  • The Union acquis should continue to apply in full to and in the United Kingdom as if it were a Member State. Any changes made to the acquis during this time should automatically apply to the United Kingdom.
  • All existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • The United Kingdom will be a third country as of 30 March 2019. As a result, it will no longer be represented in Union institutions, agencies, bodies and offices.
  • The transition period needs to be clearly defined and precisely limited in time. The Commission recommends that it should not last beyond 31 December 2020."
Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has described that as vassal status and while I don't agree with him on much it is hard to disagree with his description of a status in which we shall be subject to laws of which we shall have no part in making.

It is the Rt Hon David Davis MP's job to dislodge the remaining 27 EU member states from that position or to sell that deal to the British people if he is unable to shift the remaining states. In a speech in Teesport entitled Implementation Period – A bridge to the future partnership between the UK & EU 26 Jan 2018 the deal selling process appears already to have begun.

Mr Davis described the implementation period as a "bridge ....... to our new relationship with the European Union after Brexit." Mr Davis's former colleague, Stephen Dorrell, lambasted that bridge on tonight's Any Questions as a bridge with missing arches and that put me in mind with that famous bridge in Avignon where they lead a merry dance round and round (my translation of On y danse tous en rond).

And this is how Mr Davis proposes to sell the above terms:
"For such a period to work, both sides must continue to follow the same, stable set of laws and rules.
Without compromising the integrity of the single market, and the customs union to which we will maintain access on current terms.
Maintaining the same regulations across all sectors of the economy — from agriculture to aviation, transport to financial services, as part of a new international treaty.
In keeping with the existing structure of EU rules that will allow a strictly time-limited role for the European Court of Justice during that period.
During this implementation period, people will of course be able to travel between the UK and EU to live and work.
And as agreed in December, we will fulfil the financial commitments we have made during the period of our membership."
Mr Davis acknowledges that
"Of course, we will leave the institutions of the Union next March"
But that won't matter because "it usually takes around two full years for major legislation to make its way through the European Union system into law – virtually all of the laws that will come into effect during this time will have been drafted while the United Kingdom was a Member State." Not necessarily, Mr Davis. When the EU wants to do something it can move very quickly indeed.  Remember the export bans on British beef after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy outbreak or the livestock movement restrictions to contain foot and mouth disease.

It is clear from the slides that the Commission has uploaded to its website on police and judicial cooperation, security, defence and foreign policy, governance, aviation and fisheries that we can expect no special favours as a third country whether during the implementation period or afterwards.

Should anyone wish to discuss this article or Brexit in  general, call me on +44 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form. 

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