By Campaign Agent Eric Kostadinov So, we’ve heard it all. ‘Soft Brexit’, ‘hard Brexit’, and even a ‘red white and blue Brexit’. But what options does Theresa May actually have in her negotiations with the EU? Negotiations will largely centre around two key issues: immigration and trade. So here we take a closer look at what decisions the government will have to make around those vital issues.
Immigration was one of the key issues in the EU referendum, and many people who voted to leave did so due to their immigration concerns. As a result, this may force Theresa May to enact a strict post-Brexit immigration policy to appease large swathes of leave voters. On the other hand, the government could opt to continue free movement of people between the EU and UK, much like the arrangement currently in Norway. However this is an unlikely strategy for the government to follow, as they would have the same conditions as within the EU, but with no say on EU law.
Another key issue related to immigration is the rights of EU citizens already residing in the UK. So far there has been no cast iron guarantee that EU citizens already in the UK will be able to remain in the UK. It is thought that a guarantee of EU citizens rights would be favourable to both the UK government and EU parliament, and pressure from Labour and Liberal Democrats should see the government acting on the issue. Although unlikely, the government could pursue a drastically firm Brexit, and EU citizens in the UK could lose their right to remain in the country. This option would definitely prolong negotiations with the EU and would not go down well with our European neighbours.
Britain is currently in the single market, however that may change very soon. Theresa May seems to be pursuing a Brexit that ensures a clean break from the EU, and thus she feels it inevitable that Britain must leave the single market as well as the EU Customs Union, which provides equal import duties for all EU member states. Trade and immigration will work together in Theresa May’s negotiations. For example, no country is within the single market but also gets to reject EU freedom of movement. Therefore it is clear that whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there will be drastic changes for the UK. Theresa May will most likely want Britain to have the best possible access to the single market, however, at the moment, it is unclear as to the extent the EU will punish Britain for voting to leave last June. It could be the case that the EU wants to impose tariffs on all future trade between the UK and EU, and trying to get the best economic outcome for Britain will be central to Mrs’s May’s negotiations.
Theresa May has a tough job on her hands to get the type of Brexit that the British people want, whilst also maintaining steady economic relations with our European Allies. However, one thing is certain, a ‘red, white and blue’ Brexit doesn’t exist!
Image rights: Diliff @ Commons Wikimedia