Stephen Kinnock Welcomes Select Committee Report On The Post-Transition Relationship Between The UK And The EU

Commenting on the publication of the report, Stephen Kinnock, member of the Exiting the European Union Committee, said:

“This report makes clear that the only realistic post-transition relationship that can satisfy the government’s own Brexit tests is an EEA / EFTA-based arrangement.

“The Committee report sets a series of tests for a successful post-transition relationship that are entirely based on the words and ambitions of the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary.

“The government has made clear that any Brexit deal must deliver the same benefits that we currently enjoy, and this report measures the different models against that benchmark.

“And it concludes, rightly, that an EFTA / EEA-based deal is the only one that would come close to doing the job.

“The report also goes some way to busting many of the myths that there are about the EEA. For starters, the EEA is not the same as the Single Market. As the report makes clear, it functions in a very different manner and excludes large parts of the EU Single Market: from no ECJ, to no common fisheries or agriculture, to the opportunity to reform the free movement of labour.

“EFTA / EEA membership would take the UK out of the EU and its Single Market and would place us instead in a free trade area that includes frictionless trade with the EU. Unlike every other model the Committee studied, it would also include services, which account for 80% of the UK economy.

“And, perhaps most importantly of all, an EFTA / EEA-based deal would provide by far the most solid foundation for protecting the Good Friday Agreement by facilitating frictionless trade across the Irish border.

“The EFTA / EEA-based option not only protects jobs, investment and the economy by delivering a deal that includes both goods and services, but it also offers significant powers to shape the rules. If the government had engaged pro-actively rather than faffing around for months and creating a vacuum of indecision and incompetence, we could have seen this from 29 March 2019, as opposed to the abject vassal state transition deal that we've ended up with.

“An EFTA / EEA-based option would end the jurisdiction of the ECJ, with British judges joining the EFTA Court, which, as the Select Committee Report makes clear, routinely diverges from the ECJ; and EEA membership ends direct effect, meaning all new laws must be passed by the UK Parliament. EEA membership would also take us out of the common fisheries and agricultural policies.

“What’s more, the EEA also has clear provisions for the reform and end of free movement as we know it. This report makes clear that there is legal precedent in the EEA for ending free movement, and building a flexible immigration system.

“The report makes clear that the only realistic and deliverable Brexit, one that strikes the right balance between protecting jobs and ensuring we are a sovereign nation, one that truly does take back control.

“This is a real step forward, as we saw cross party support for this report. The government must get realistic. The deep and special partnership that they want is all well and good, but the only way in which we can get it is with an EEA EFTA based deal.

“The usual suspects remain opposed to this common sense Brexit, and one cannot help but come to the conclusion that their only real problem with the EEA is not what it means, but just that the first 'E' in stands for Europe.

“We need to see the government ditch the dogma, and get realistic. I have been arguing for an EFTA / EEA-based Brexit since the autumn of 2016, but the government has refused to listen, and as a result we are heading for a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement. But a Canada-style deal is about as much use as a chocolate teapot as it offers almost nothing on services, and even less in terms of resolving the Irish border.

“I truly hope that the conclusions of this report will lend weight to my arguments, and that the government will finally wake up and see sense. There is still time to change course, before the crucial October vote.

“In order to construct the house in which we wish to live we must first and foremost design and build the foundations. And, as the Committee has made clear today, those foundations should be EFTA / EEA.”