Macron and Marr muddy the waters as Brexiteers speak out against the ECJ

The headlines in Open Europe’s daily e-mail sounded very promising:-  “UK could have a bespoke arrangement between full single market access and a free trade deal, says Emmanuel Macron.” Isn’t that what everyone has wanted? Could it even be “having cake and eating it”?

Not if one reads the small print. Macron’s comments were made during an interview for the Andrew Marr Show. Nicola Shawson of the Guardian listened to the full interview and pointed out that Macron insisted that there would be no cherry-picking:-

Pressed on whether there would be a bespoke special solution for the UK, Macron said: “Sure, but … this special way should be consistent with the preservation of the single market and our collective interests… and you should understand that you cannot, by definition, have the full access to the single market if you don’t tick the box.”

So nothing new here. We will get a deal giving us some degree of access to the single market, but not full access. It will be worse than the access we enjoy as a full member. Fine. We already knew that.

Another person who listened to Macron’s interview with Andreew Marr was Richard North, who pointed out that Macron contradicted himself:-

By definition, he said, the relationship will be “less deep than today”. The deepest possible relationship is being a member of the European Union. But he then adds: “As you decided to leave you cannot be part of the single market”.

Now this is confusing because he goes on to say that “you can have some deeper relations and some others”. For instance, he says, “we have a deeper relation with Norway than the – the one we have with Canada”. So it depends on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation but, unless you change your mind, you will not be part of the single market because you will not be part of the European Union.

Addressed to someone like Andrew Marr, who already has a slender grasp of the basics – to say nothing of the body politic in general – this sort of confusion, where he elides membership of the EU and the Single Market, can be fatal.

Certainly, the French President seems to contradict what he was saying last week in the aftermath of the Anglo-French summit at Sandhurst.

It’s therefore not only our side which is getting into a muddle over Brexit.

Macron and Marr were discussing a longer-term EU-UK relationship, Turning to the transitional arrangements, it is encouraging to note that opposition is mounting among Conservative MPs to any role for the ECJ and to free movement of people after 29th March 2019 – Brexit day.  Jacob Rees-Mogg didn’t mince his words about free movement nor the cost of the Brexit settlement, while ex-ministers Iain Duncan-Smith, John Redwood, Owen Paterson and Lord Lawson also made clear their opposition to any involvement of the ECJ once we are formally out of the EU.

Of course, it is one thing to point out the bad features of a proposed deal and quite another to come up with a suitable alternative, particularly one which will satisfy the business community, which is desperate for some guidelines in time to plan for life outside the EU. Some compromises will have to be made as it is impossible to find even a short-term deal which will tick everyone’s boxes. A total surrender to the EU, however, turning us into a colony of Brussels for 21 months, is definitely not the answer and it is good that voices in Parliament are beginning to be raised which will hopefully force a re-think – and soon.


PS: Since this article was published, a further article which provides an indication of the scale of opposition to free movement of people and any role for the ECJ after Brexit has appeared in the Independent. Mrs May is going ot have a very tough time trying to get an agreement for the transitional deal as it stands, although a leadership challenge, as suggested by the author of the article, does look very unlikely.

Photo by LeWeb14

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  1. Phil JonesReply

    John, there’s only two options: (1) a trade deal with the EU that has no half-in half-out political attachments, i.e. not EFTA nor EEA/EFTA, or (2) the UK walks away and deals under WTO. As far as (1), I still see a possibility for it, i.e. along the lines of CETA+services but not covering services to the extent a Member State gets. If Mrs May tries for that and makes clear that it is an absolute bottom line that if not accepted by the EU means walking away, I think it would be possible. Volkswagen and BMW would be on the blower to Mrs. Merkel in two seconds if they actually thought that the UK would walk away. It’s a game of high-stakes poker and Mrs. May has to play her cards close to her chest. JR-M would be good at that game, but the time is too tight to put him in place. Mrs. May should have gone ahead and created a Minster for Leaving Without a Deal as was apparently rumoured since that would have shown just how serious she was. She can’t give one inch on this. The EU are masters at deceit and pushing things just as far as possible — and she needs to be up to it. I’ve trusted her so far but now we are entering the end game.

    • Jason BReply

      Phil, I thought of you as you may be aware the leave means leave folk sent an open letter to the PM on Saturday co-signed by many experienced folk such as former chancellor Lord Lawson to adopt the CETA route (see BrexitCentral) and supposedly to also be of interest to the EU. It is of interesting to watch how things develop.

  2. Jason BReply

    Phil, you raise some interesting points but assert no trade deal under EFTA, yet on the CIB choice leaflet,(and I gave out many during the referendum campaign) it mentions: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein offer a safe, proven alternative to EU membership. We could re-join EFTA without being part of the political EU project etc,. Could a EFTA option with a definite exit date be a possibility?

  3. Gordon WebsterReply

    I agree Jason, but it is fairly clear to me that Westminster is stalling, in the hope that they can stay in somehow.
    I signed the Petition on Leaving The EU Immediately, and just received a reply from The Petitions Committee. They have the audacity to cite the Rule of Law and The Vienna Convention on The Law of Treaties.
    Whereas BritaIn is a signatory the EU, not being a State, thanks to Brexit, is not. The EU has also breached the VCTL on the subject of Subsidiarity (by their own admission), and by putting pressure on member states to comply, breaching the Convention article on Good Faith and Trust, and also on the Euro bailouts. So Westminster claiming to acting according to Law, given Lord Kilmuir’s Letter, and FCO 30(1048), is a nonsense, and stalling behaviour.
    If EU member states wish to keep the British Markets, then the decision is theirs. They used Brussels Rules, over the last 45 years, to clear out British Industry, to take that trade. Just how desperate are they to keep them?

    • Jason BReply

      Interesting Gordon. If the EU have been and annulled at will a required criteria, then what should be the next step ? For example : on trial at The Hague.

      Regarding EU members owning British markets such as the DHT and TNT, I have often wondered if they have future fears of what will be the consequences when they come under British rules.

  4. Adam HileyReply

    if We as a People don’t wisely wake up & throw out the corrupt main 3 parties nothing will change in Britain

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