We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

September 26, 2017

Brexit is a binary choice between EEA or third-country status

If you follow the UK debates about Brexit from a pro-European perspective like ours, you come to realise pretty quickly why the country is leaving. When we listened to the speeches from the Labour Party conference in Brighton last night, we were quite surprised to hear Keir Starmer, the Labour Brexit spokesman, going through his own having-your-cake-and-eating-it phase. No, Labour does not want to join the EEA, which would involve an official change in the Brexit mandate. Yes, Labour wants the UK to adopt its own immigration regime to protect workers. This version of Brexit will not be on offer by the EU.

We felt that Theresa May herself failed to make progress on that front when she delivered her speech in Florence. We noted back in March that the decision to leave the single market and the customs union is profound. This means that the UK will have third-country status, plus an FTA with the EU. This FTA will include zero-tariff rules, rules of origin regulations, and services chapters, only to the extent that they are mutually beneficial. Since the FTA will have to be ratified by everybody, we are not expecting this to be a very long list. If the UK adopts its own immigration regime to the effect that access by EU citizens to the UK is constrained in any way, we see no chance whatsoever of any services components in the FTA. Freedom for nukes but not for people - you must be kidding! 

The Brexit options are thus far more binary than many people in the UK realise. There are no creative options. And as Michel Barnier noted yesterday, the same is true for the transitional period. He said that the transition was not part of his mandate, but the conditions for it are exactly the same binary choice as for Brexit itself. First of all, the EU itself has to decide whether it wants a transition. We assume it does. But any transition will come with all the obligations of membership - regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, and judiciary - with the corresponding enforcement instruments. There will be no immigration regime in that transition. This is Brexit postponed, with the sole exception that Brexit is no longer reversible at that point. 

The talks yesterday made no progress on this front. The EU is still waiting for the UK to clarify its position before it unlocks the second phase of the Brexit talks - about trade. We are sceptical that this will happen in October.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • May 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • February 28, 2017
  • Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?
  • Something we just don’t understand
  • Solve the problem
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • February 01, 2017
  • Do Republicans have a plan B if Fillon falls?
  • Unforgiven
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 31, 2018
  • Hans Werner Sinn demands German euro exit
  • The politics of the SPD’s links to Russia
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • July 06, 2017
  • On Merkel’s imperial overreach
  • When the opposition opposes to oppose
  • Everybody wants the medicines agency
  • November 29, 2016
  • On the politics of the Italian referendum
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • April 10, 2018
  • A mood of radicalisation in France
  • The German far right makes inroads into trade unions
  • On the absurdity of a new centrist party in British politics
  • October 12, 2017
  • Panicking in London
  • Gabriel's unbearable hypocrisy on the eurozone
  • April 15, 2017
  • Happy Easter
  • October 19, 2016
  • Walloons stand firm
  • Juppé and Macron - father and son?
  • J’ai vraiment dit ça?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 04, 2018
  • The Brexit Queen’s new dancing clothes
  • Ceci n’est pas une crise politique
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • January 19, 2018
  • On the futility of discussing the German current account surplus
  • The Brexit revocation madness
  • Varadkar, the enfant terrible in the Brexit negotiations
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • August 02, 2018
  • Remain campaign in state of panic over possible Brexit deal
  • Could Brexit trigger Irish reunification?
  • Syriza's politics after the deadly wildfires
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 14, 2018
  • A Labour rebellion, really?
  • May 23, 2018
  • Mattarella’s limited options
  • May 03, 2018
  • Finland's take on universal income
  • The lessons from Weimar
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • March 26, 2018
  • On the run no more
  • Terrorist attack will challenge Macron
  • A double-whammy of geopolitical and financial uncertainty
  • March 08, 2018
  • EU will not offer UK a financial services deal
  • What if the DUP implodes?
  • Has Mario Draghi expropriated German savers?
  • February 19, 2018
  • SPD divided over grand coalition
  • Wauquiez - the French Trump?
  • Why Brexit will be extremely hard to reverse
  • February 02, 2018
  • Centeno cleared
  • How Brexit can go wrong
  • A short note on Five Star and the Lega
  • January 18, 2018
  • A Franco-German blueprint for eurozone reform
  • Philippe's controversial airport decision
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 11, 2017
  • A new era for the French right
  • Growing scepticism of a grand coalition
  • November 30, 2017
  • Please tell us there is another way than fudging the border
  • Could Gentiloni remain prime minister beyond the elections?
  • Stage set for Babis minority government
  • November 20, 2017
  • Showdown over Northern Ireland
  • Castaner and his list confirmed
  • Gennimata to lead the new left alliance
  • Brexit‘s ultimate irony
  • November 09, 2017
  • From street protests to road closures
  • What Russia wants
  • October 31, 2017
  • Puigdemont's flight of fancy
  • Hopeless but not serious
  • Serious but not hopeless
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • October 10, 2017
  • The UK is slowly gearing up for a no-deal Brexit scenario
  • No liberal parties in Austria
  • October 06, 2017
  • Catalan parliament session suspended
  • Can Jamaica fail? (not the country)
  • Portugal to give tax relief to the lower middle class
  • Stagnant wages and Central European populism
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • September 29, 2017
  • Is the CDU about to rebel against Merkel?
  • What about defence?
  • What happened to the French mainstream parties?
  • September 27, 2017
  • On the future of the eurozone
  • Catalan prosecutor orders sealing off polling stations
  • Did the EU write May’s speech?