From our friends at the European Movement International:
This Thursday, 15 October, the European Council will convene to discuss the future of EU-UK relations before the end of the transition period in January 2021. Boris Johnson has already described the summit as the last possible opportunity to seal an agreement. Meanwhile, several bones of contention—namely fishing rights and state aid to businesses—continue to rattle negotiators. Fallout over the UK’s Internal Market Bill, which violated the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and culminated in the European Commission’s opening of infringement procedures, has sown distrust at a time when cooperation is keenly desired.
With the Withdrawal Agreement now placed in serious jeopardy, the next few days and weeks will be essential for preserving partnerships on trade, defence, movement, and citizens’ rights. Earlier in October, Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson agreed on the importance of resolving differences and intensifying, not abandoning, discussions.
At this stage, both parties must come together in acknowledging that, despite the circumstances, much more unites than divides them. Work must therefore resume, in earnest, to restore mutual trust to ongoing negotiations whilst giving wide berth to any “no-deal” eventuality.
The European Movement International believes that any agreement between the UK and the EU would pale in comparison to the benefits of EU membership. As outlined in our policy position on Brexit, and now what? Scenarios for Trade, the worst-case scenario for the UK would be to lack any kind of preferential trade agreement with the EU and for the relationship to be solely based on WTO terms. Brexit negotiations should proceed in a manner commensurate with this fact.
Our policy positions on Brexit, and now what? Scenarios for Free Movement and Brexit, and now what? Scenarios for Rights and Protections also stress the importance of maintaining the freedom of movement, environmental safeguards, workers’ rights, and multilateral collaborations that citizens across Europe hold so dear. A string of government defeats in the House of Lords indicates significant political backing for continued free movement, while recent uproar over weakened British food standards shows that fundamental EU protections—alimentary, environmental, or otherwise—still enjoy public support in the UK.