We could not have found a better day than today to have our quarterly so called « anglo-french dialogue » : in this regular meeting, alternatively organized in Paris and London, we exchange in a friendly atmosphere our views on our common business interests. Around the table, public authorities, professional associations, insurers, banks of our two countries…
Yesterday, in a highly anticipated speech, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed more clearly than ever what « Brexit means Brexit » means : Britain is heading towards a full break from the EU which entails leaving the single market in order to have full control over immigration.
In an economy based on services, needing to import talents, it’s obviously a stupid decision. But, the fact to organize this referendum itself, and the answer of british people were stupid already : we have finally a logical outcome.
The landscape is much clearer now : setting out her government’s 12 priorities for crunch negotiations with the EU 27, Theresa May made it clear that the UK would:
- take back control of borders, arguing that record levels of migration had “put pressure on public services”;
- no longer be under the jurisdiction of Luxemburg European Court of Justice, because “we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws” she said;
- “explicitly rule out membership of the EU’s single market” because that is incompatible with migration controls;
- not stay in the customs union, but try to strike a separate deal as an “associate member” to make trading as “frictionless as possible”;
- not be required to “contribute huge sums to the EU budget” but simply pay towards specific programmes;
- and last but not least would seek a “new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement” with the EU, and build trading relationships with countries beyond Europe as part of a “global Britain” strategy.
Britain is then heading to what analysts call a “hard” Brexit.
But whether people like it or not, it remains and wil remain a european country, with indefectible ties with us, forged in WW I and II.
And I will modestly repeat, and will always repeat the same thing as in a former LinkedIn post: «Let’s keep emotion aside and talk. It’s our common interest … let’s talk !»
Good day to everyone.
Iconography : British Embassy in Paris, France, January 17th 2017, personal collection. Post originally published on LinkedIn.