Theresa May's government has finally agreed a plan for Brexit — but the EU may still reject it

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May arrive to give statements to the media prior to talks at the Chancellery on July 5, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
  • Theresa May’s government agreed Friday on a proposal for the UK’s relationship with the EU after Brexit.
  • The UK would follow EU rules on goods to ensure “frictionless” trade, and EU courts would have some oversight on certain subjects.
  • But experts have already questioned whether the EU will accept the proposal.

Theresa May’s government has, at very long last, agreed upon a comprehensive plan for Brexit.

After a crunch cabinet summit at Chequers in the English countryside, the British government finally announced on Friday the outline for its intended relationship with the European Union, ranging from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice to fisheries policy.

But, experts have warned, the EU may still reject the plan altogether – and the government acknowledges that it needs to speed up negotiations and prepare for the possibility of “no deal.”

The Cabinet, it said in a statement, reached “a substantial evolution in our proposals for the UK’s future relationship with the EU,” and plans to publish a White Paper outlining its new proposal next week. The key points include:

  • The UK will follow EU rules on goods, ensuring “that the UK and the EU have frictionless access to each other’s markets for goods, including agricultural, food and fisheries products.”
  • The UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.
  • Britain will have an independent trade policy, including its own seat at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • EU courts would have some degree of oversight in the UK on certain subjects. “UK courts would pay due regard to the CJEU’s jurisprudence where the UK had chosen to apply a common rulebook to ensure consistent interpretation,” the statement said.
  • The UK will stop paying into the EU budget.
  • The EU and UK will “maintain operational capabilities on internal security.”

However, experts have already cast doubt on whether the EU will accept this proposal. The Times got its hands on an early draft of the plan and asked Centre for European Reform research fellow Sam Lowe to analyse it.

His conclusion? Europe is unlikely to bite. “Allowing the UK such a relationship could cause problems for the EU vis-à-vis its external relationships with Switzerland and the EEA countries; and it could also empower Eurosceptic sentiment in manufacturing-heavy parts of the EU, such as France and Germany,” he wrote. “If the EU doesn’t want to grant the UK a special deal, it won’t.”

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