We have recently submitted to the Department for Exiting the European Union our response to the Government's White Paper on Leaving the European Union. 

Our response consists of 2 papers, one dealing primarily with transitional arrangements and the other commenting on the shape of the UK's longer term relationship with the EU after Brexit.  Both papers aim to offer constructive criticism with a view to helping the Government to secure the best possible outcome for the UK from Brexit.

Transitional arrangements

This paper includes discussion of the following:

  • Our assessment of the "cliff edge" risks posed by a disorderly exit – which is that they are plausible and significant (hence the need for transitional arrangements);
  • The desirability of some form of accord on transitional arrangements as early as possible in the Article 50 negotiations in order to minimise avoidable loss of jobs and investment;
  • The importance of meaningful communication from Government as to progress of the negotiations in order to maintain business confidence that "cliff edge" risks will be avoided (again, with a view to minimising avoidable loss of jobs and investment due to fears of "no deal"); and
  • The form that transitional arrangements could take and the extent to which these could be reconciled with some of the "red lines" set out in the White Paper

UK's longer term relationship with the EU after Brexit

This paper includes discussion of the following:

  • Whether some of the key principles outlined in the White Paper, such as "ensuring free trade with European markets", should take precedence over others, such as "taking control of our own laws" and "controlling immigration".  In particular, it is likely that if the Government wishes to maintain a high level of access for UK businesses to EU markets, it will need to adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach as regards sovereignty and immigration.
  • Whether there could be too many "red lines" in the White Paper, making it difficult for the Government to find room for compromise with the EU.
  • Possible approaches to issues of key concern to business, such as mutual recognition, tariffs, customs formalities and recognition and enforcement of judgments.
  • Whether the Government's objectives should include the protection of other rights besides those of "workers".
  • Whether the UK should be seeking to develop a more ambitious, longer term "vision" for cooperation with other European countries generally (i.e. not just the EU but also the EFTA States, Turkey and former Soviet bloc countries such as Ukraine, Moldova etc).

We may return to some of these topics in subsequent "Brexit Commentary" articles or in other briefings, as the negotiations progress.

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