Photo by Robert Sharp
On Wednesday night, David Davis urged Germany not to put “politics above prosperity” in a strong pitch to drive the direction of talks regarding Brexit.
The Brexit secretary informed an audience in Berlin that the United Kingdom would be “a third country like no other,” rejecting the reported plans of the European Union to impose a basic trade deal.
Davis said that the United Kingdom would be “much closer than Canada, much bigger than Norway, and uniquely integrated on everything from energy networks to services.”
The future relationship between the EU and the UK would be underpinned by a deep and comprehensive agreement regarding free trade which would include agriculture, goods, and services, critically “including financial services,” said Davis.
The speech of Davis came only hours after a scoping document was leaked to the website Politico, revealing the plans of the European Union to propose a Canada-style framework for future trade, which would not include financial services and possibly risk long-term damage to the sector.
Prime Minister Theresa May has long insisted that the United Kingdom must have a bespoke deal and earlier in the day the spokesperson for Theresa May said that the Prime Minister was committed to a “unique” agreement.
Davis said that the deal must include a commitment to ending freedom of movement, even though the Brexit Secretary insisted that “the UK will continue to welcome people, both from the EU and around the world.” He also asked for mutual recognition of qualifications and endorsed calls for a mechanism of dispute resolution for financial services. And he reiterated the view of the government that a transition period should last about two years, during which the present status quo would be maintained.
Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor said that it was “in everyone’s interest” to have a transitional deal agreed upon. During an interview with ITV, Carney asked policymakers on both sides of the Channel to conduct “as comprehensive and open a trading and investment partnership between the UK and the EU27 at the end of that transition.”
The speech was seen within government as necessary for pushing forward talks ahead of the European Council summit in December, where it is anticipated that the European Union will finally allow negotiators to tackle trade and transition.
It is hoped that Davis will have done enough to win over the Germans, who are believed as key power brokers in the whole process. A senior cabinet source informed reporters: “We’re not negotiating with Brussels, we’re negotiating with Berlin.”
However, if Europe was expecting money on the table after the threatened two-week deadline pf Barnier, they would have been frustrated. On figures, Davis continued to be silent. However, he stressed that the United Kingdom was a country that “honours its international commitments and obligations.”
Adding this was “more than just rhetoric,” Davis informed the audience that the United Kingdom was spending £22bn per year above the average of the European Union on defence and international development. “It’s money that demonstrates how seriously we take our role on the world stage,” added Davis.