Along with ending free movement of people, it was the reddest of Theresa May’s red lines: post-Brexit Britain should be able to strike its own trade deals. The prime minister contended that to respect the 2016 referendum result the UK must have “new opportunities to trade with the rest of the world” and, for the sake of these future trade deals, she ruled out Labour proposals for a permanent customs union with the EU. But the argument is far from over. A proposal for a permanent customs union with the EU fell just six votes short of a majority last week when MPs voted on their preferred Brexit outcome. For years a niche subject for campaigners, wonks and eurosceptics, trade policy has become a big issue in British political life. One former prime minister told a private audience recently that if he had been asked about the EU customs union during his time in office, he would not have known what they were talking about. The customs union means that EU countries apply … [Read more...] about Would the UK be better off in or out of a customs union?
Europe customs union
The EU is ready to "discuss" a customs union with the U.K. if MPs settle on it as a compromise option, according to Nathalie Loiseau, the lead candidate in President Emmanuel Macron's party list for the European election. Speaking on French channel BFM TV, the former EU minister complained that there was "a majority over nothing" in the House of Commons, after MPs rejected the U.K. prime minister’s Brexit divorce deal for a third time Friday. Earlier in the week, MPs voted down eight proposals for alternative Brexit plans. The process of seeking a compromise option continues on Monday and Loiseau was asked if the proposal for a permanent customs union post-Brexit, which came within eight votes of a majority, would be acceptable. "If they vote for it, we will discuss it," she said. A customs union means the U.K. and EU would keep a common trade policy and external tariffs. It would make the problem of avoiding infrastructure on the Northern Ireland border much … [Read more...] about EU ready to ‘discuss’ post-Brexit customs union, says Macron ally
Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, said that the EU would agree to put a permanent customs union in the political declaration, the text drafting the UK and EU's future relationship, should the UK choose to ask for one. "We are open to work on the principle of a permanent customs union, should the UK choose to take this path," Barnier said in a speech in Warsaw on Friday, 29 March 2019, or as he described it: "this date the UK chose itself when notified the EU just two years ago". Speaking before the British parliament voted against the Withdrawal Agreement, the deal that Theresa May struck with the EU, for the third time with a 58 votes majority, Barnier reminded the audience that if the UK parliament voted down the deal a third time, it would need to indicate a way forward to the EU by 12 April. "No deal has become more likely", he said. Uncertainty Barnier warned that a no deal Brexit would have negative consequences, not only for the UK but also for the EU. He said that the … [Read more...] about Brexit: EU would allow permanent customs union if UK wants it, says Barnier
WARSAW — If Britain wants a customs union, the EU is ready to make a deal, the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Friday. Speaking to the College of Europe campus in Warsaw, Barnier appeared to nod to the indicative votes in the House of Commons on Wednesday in which eight different Brexit options failed to gain a majority but a proposal for a customs union came closest, losing by just eight votes: 272 to 264. A customs union, in which the U.K. and EU would maintain a common trade policy and external tariffs, would largely solve the problem on the Northern Ireland border and eliminate the need for the controversial "backstop" provision that has spurred opposition to the Withdrawal Agreement in the British parliament. Noting that the EU had already agreed to "an ambitious future relationship based on the limits set by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Barnier said: "We are ready to be even more ambitious should the U.K.'s red-lines evolve. For instance, we are open … [Read more...] about Michel Barnier: EU open to customs union with UK
Jon Tonge: Close alignment with customs union and single market could solve DUP's Brexit conundrum BelfastTelegraph.co.uk Parliament's predictable eight-fold rejection of every Brexit option highlights how all exits from our political crisis are currently blocked. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/jon-tonge-close-alignment-with-customs-union-and-single-market-could-solve-dups-brexit-conundrum-37962115.html https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/article37962113.ece/ea0ba/AUTOCROP/h342/2019-03-29_new_49129061_I3.JPG Email Parliament's predictable eight-fold rejection of every Brexit option highlights how all exits from our political crisis are currently blocked. Look closely though and party abstentions were almost as significant as the no votes in terms of possible ways forward. The DUP's abstention on the option of a customs union plus single market finally laid to rest a persistent metropolitan myth - long exposed in columns in this … [Read more...] about Jon Tonge: Close alignment with customs union and single market could solve DUP’s Brexit conundrum