UK government considers ‘grey Brexit,’ amidst Cabinet split on paying EU for market access
The Sunday Times cites a senior UK government source saying Prime Minister Theresa May will seek tariff-free access to the EU market and controls on immigration. Simultaneously, officials are preparing for the possibility of the UK walking away from the negotiations and accepting World Trade Organisation rules. Meanwhile, the Department for Exiting the EU is also thought to be drawing up plans dubbed “grey Brexit,” whereby Britain would leave the single market before seeking a deal similar to the Canada – EU (CETA) deal, whilst also controlling immigration but permitting skilled EU migrants to the UK in certain sectors.
Separately, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that the suggestion the UK would make contributions to the EU, as a means of achieving the access for goods and services to the European market after Brexit, was “pure speculation.” This comes as Brexit Secretary David Davis said last week that he “would consider” such arrangement. “That is obviously something that David Davis is considering but it doesn’t mean a decision has been taken,” said Johnson. However Johnson added, “I’ve always thought that there were aspects of EU cooperation … where actually … to be part of that in the future might be a good idea, certainly would be a good idea if it involved paying in,” referring to the Erasmus student exchange program and Horizon program for research, adding that there was no reason why those payments should be “large.”
Renzi to resign after crushing defeat in Italian constitutional referendum
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will today tender his resignation after suffering a crushing defeat in the referendum on the constitutional reform tabled by his government. Italians voted to reject the changes by 59.1% to 40.9%. The Five-Star Movement and Lega Nord have both called for snap elections to take place as soon as possible, while Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia has taken a more cautious approach. The timeline remains unclear, but Italian President Sergio Mattarella is now expected to open talks with political leaders with a view to appointing an interim government. The markets have yet to show any sign of panic, although the euro temporarily fell to a 20-month low.
Trade Minister: UK can still be in customs union
Greg Hands, Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, has told Bloomberg, “You can choose which markets, which products the customs unions affect and which they don’t, so there isn’t a binary thing of being inside the customs union or outside of the customs union…The history of international trade has got all kinds of examples of customs unions.” Hands stressed that it’s vital that UK companies have “maximum access” to the single market saying, “That’s what we would expect to offer to the EU to UK markets in return.”
Supreme Court to hear Article 50 case, as Corbyn says Labour will put forward an amendment to Brexit Bill
The Supreme Court will today begin hearing the case for whether or not the UK government needs the approval of Parliament to trigger Article 50 (the formal process of leaving the EU). Speaking to Sky News, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “When the Article 50 debate comes up, we will put forward an amendment to it, about market access and protections. We want those to be part of the negotiations…We are respecting the result of the referendum. It might not be the one we wanted but it’s the one we’ve got.”
Source: Sky News
Austria’s far-right candidate loses presidential election
The far-right candidate in Austria’s presidential election, Norbert Hofer, yesterday accepted defeat to Alexander Van der Bellen. Norbert Hofer said, “I am very sad that it didn’t work out. I would have loved to look after our Austria. Alexander Van der Bellen I congratulate you for your success and I ask all Austrians to please stick together and let us work together.”
Source: Sky News
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls set to announce his presidency bid today
Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls will this evening announce his candidacy for France’s presidential elections next year. His statement is also expected to address the handover of the prime ministerial role. This comes four days after President François Hollande ruled out running for re-election.
Source: Le Figaro