David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, has eliminated the possibility of staying in the European Economic Area or entering the European Free Trade Association after Brexit, proclaiming them “in many ways, the worst of all outcomes.”
During inquiries to the Department of Exiting the European Union in the House of Commons, Davis revealed that the government had given the issue “some considerable thought, maybe as an interim measure.” However, he said that it would not attempt to join EFTA.
The Brexit secretary noted that it would be a “more complicated, more difficult and less beneficial” decision to join the association and that the government intended to design a separate transition deal.
Davis also announced that the United Kingdom “will no longer participate in the EEA agreement once it leaves the European Union.” He added that the government is contemplating on whether it needs to take formal steps to “confirm our withdrawal.”
“We are considering what steps if any we might take to formally confirm our withdrawal from the EEA agreement,” said Davis.
The Brexit secretary also revealed that the United Kingdom will not stay in the single market or customs union during a period of transition, but might seek to have similar arrangements with the European Union.
Pat McFadden, the Labour MP, asked Davis why the government would not want stay in those institutions. Mcfadden Said: “What is the purpose of a transitional arrangement that undermines the very stability and continuity it’s supposed to achieve?”
“We’re starting from the aim of maintaining as much continuity as is necessary … we may well seek a customs arrangement for that period and a similar arrangement on single market provisions, but we cannot make that decision ourselves,” Davis replied.
Labour MP and Open Britain’s leading supporter, Chris Bryant, stated: “David Davis is very good at taking options off the table, but doesn’t seem to bother putting any options on the table.
“The idea that he can rule out every possible transitional arrangement except for a yet to be defined bespoke arrangement is mad, given that the talks are stuck in the mud and we have just a year left before the final Brexit deal must be finalised.”