A group of senior politicians in Brussels is to propose “second-class” EU status for Britain in a dramatic shift in thinking by the strongest supporters of a united Europe.
They are to suggest that the UK should become an “associate member” under plans which would result in it staying in the EU’s single market but being stripped of its commissioner in Brussels, MEPs, and its right of veto in the European Council.
Describing what associate membership status would look like, he wrote: “Participation in the EU institutions would be limited. In the case that the UK opts for associate membership based on trade and the single market, retention of a British judge at the Court of Justice would be eminently sensible, but the case for a British Commissioner would be less convincing.
This doesn’t work: because damn near anything can be smuggled in under Single Market rules. The taxation of corporations for example. Whether or not to reduce the use of landfill (no, seriously, the actual route by which landfill use is controlled is single market rules. Holland can’t use landfill because to do so is to rediscover the North Sea. Therefore everyone must reduce landfill use in order to preserve fair competition in the single market.). Insurance and annuity laws for men and women: sure, at the moment they’re under equity rules. But they could as easily come under single market ones. REACH is currently about the environment. Easy enough to put it under single market.
And don’t forget: we’re talking about an entire continent that believes that a single market requires rules and regulations about everything. That civil, Roman or Napoleonic law thing.
It’s actually this which is precisely the thing we want to escape. That ever growing encrustation of barnacles on the ship of state.
We desperately need to leave the Single Market. And then come back with a trade deal for it: in which we say that sure, your gaff, your rules. So anyone wanting to export to the EU will have to obey single market rules. But the other 80% of our economy shall be free of them for our gaff our rules.
The Single Market, viewed as a free trade area, is just great. The Single Market as it is, a highly regulated and bureaucratic institution, is exactly what we want to escape. Which means that we really do not want to take this offer.
After all, look who is proposing it: the Union of European Federalists. They wouldn’t be suggesting it if it meant that we actually would be free of them now would they?