14 Sep 2016

Juncker on Brexit: forget a la carte single market access

One hand in his pocket, wiping his top lip, Jean-Claude Juncker was anything but stirring as he gave his State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning.

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Many (not all) in the room are Euro-enthusiasts, yearning for clap-lines as the EU grapples with existential challenges. Many stood to applaud at the end but President Juncker’s address was described by some commentators as a bit of a laundry list.

Most interesting from a British perspective was what sounded like a slap-down for the hybrid, “bespoke” Brexit deal that Theresa May is seeking – something that gives more freedom (over immigration and law-making) than the Norway model but gets more advantages and trade benefits than the Canada trade deal.

President Juncker said the Single Market was an all or nothing affair – he ruled out “a la carte access to the Single Market”. That’s exactly what the Government appears to be aiming for when she says the UK wants some control of migration traded off with some (a lot, preferably) of the existing trade benefits of Single Market membership.

Theresa May, in China, described this as an “ambitious” approach. To borrow a term much deployed in Labour’s current leadership contest, some in Brussels say it is “delusional,” particularly when it comes to the services sector (some think manufactured goods could get more benign treatment).

He was pipped to the post by his rival (sorry, colleague), European Council President Donald Tusk, with his address to member nations ahead of the meeting (this Friday) of the 27 still in the EU when the UK leaves.

Mr Tusk though seems to echo Mr Juncker when it comes to Brexit: “We should stick to the Treaty and be coolheaded, consistent, and fully united as well as firm in insisting on a balance of rights and obligations. If we do so, there will be no room for doubt that it is a good thing to be a member of the Union.”

Opponents of the EU will, understandably, say these are opening negotiating bids, but making sure there is “no room for doubt” you’re better off in is quite a warning shot.

Yesterday, we heard from the Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator who warned of “very tough” talks and of an “ultra liberal drift” in the UK.

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3 reader comments

  1. Peter Rose says:

    Junker is right, and NO Passporting for UK banks, we Europeans regardless of whether we are UK European residents or other Europeans, want our EU passports to continue, even if we have Stateless EU Passports, which even the English should be forced to accept, and hard rules for the Anti- EU Putchists in England . If they leave they should pay– a hard price! The ruin of the English economy is preferable to the destuction of democratic, peaceful Europe.

  2. Jack says:

    Peter Rose! Were you living on Mars when the EU crats (Totally unelected by the way) ganged up on Greece…which was the origin of democracy???
    I remember that EU cover was provided by the IMF…Has EU got amnesia??

    Refugees? barbed wire camps to “welcome refugees”??
    What many in the EU are now seeing is the failure of a dream as at no time has the EU acted democratically.

    France Voted NO as I remember to one of the EU diktats…the EU response? Vote again til the EU crattery gets the “Right” answer….Yes was the answer the EU forced out of France!! Also ditto with Eire and what happened to Greece was more like an edict from the Third Reich, than a so called democratic collection of nations.
    EU Bureaucrats hate democracy, as if they really accepted it as a concept, they would be defeated by Nation States!

    In my opinion,(and I voted NO to the 1975 referendum, as well as the recent one), our government should just name a date…(say 1st January 2017) and tell Brussels that on that date GB will no longer be bound by the rules of the EU, as under British democracy, what citizens vote on (Democratically with a majority), has to be LAW to our unwilling politicians happy to keep their greedy snouts in the large EU Money Trough.

    Then just get busy making deals with the rest of the world!!

    My family served to defeat the Germans under that fascist regime, so Brits know a lot about democratic values.
    GB stood by those values at great cost!!

    The price all EU nations are paying today is the democratic deficit so blatantly apparent emanating from Brussells!!

    As for paying, EU policies have already stripped the UK of many of its assets, with the result that high unemployment, the result of those DELIBERATE, and undemocratic decisions imposed from unelected EU to the Founder of Democratic government!

    Sad that Junker and Co will never pay a “hard price” for turning Europe into a collection of vassal states in the making!
    And if you have been inattentive, the English economy has ALREADY BEEN ruined!!.

    My relatives evacuated at Dunkirk, eventually came back to FREE the then Europe, and todays` Europe speaks as if GB is the enemy!!

    The many who died for Freedom would turn in their graves at the state of Europe (at least its leaders), today!

  3. Jack says:

    Mr Rose. I assume that you are either not British, or that you frown on British Democracy which the recent referendum supplied recently by UK voters, to the real Chagrin of many sour grapes others with no understanding of just HOW real DEMOCRACY works?
    WE cannot sack Junkers. HE is undemocratic, and a part, (Avery well paid part) of the Brussels beaucratic deficit!
    I have lived through many examples of the real destruction of the British economy!
    First the WAR, which di lasting damage, then the post war spending which helped our nation recover, but left it more or less bankrupt. Then the politicians made their own contribution to industrial decline yet still manage to spend on their expensive pet projects!
    And your ststement regarding how GB should be “forced to accept” EU Passports.
    Hitler did that and we condemned him! Now his methods are ok for the EU to use on a member which only crime was to prefer democracy over totalitarian diktat!
    A majority vote to LEAVE the EU, in a DEMOCRATIC vote!
    That means that the EU crats can bluster as much as they like, but British Democracy has spoken. I can understand if you are French or even German,but a true Englishman would know all about democracy, its origins and how this small nation spread these values across the globe! Unless your schooling did not cover the origins of British Democratic values as ours did.We voted! The Majority elected LEAVE! To any British Government, that is LAW! (Whatever an unelected Crat says or thinks!!

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