Category Archives: Single Market

What If There Is No Cake?

As David Davis and his team return to Brussels to “get down to business on Brexit” for another week of negotiations, both the Conservative Government and the Labour opposition have been accused of wanting to “have their cake and eat it”. This being a reference to, frankly, deluded ambitions of what can be achieved in EU exit negotiations. Somewhat topically, Professor Tim Lang, of the Centre for Food Policy, has published a paper detailing the significant risks to UK food security following Brexit. The report sets out the stark, and frightening, reality of what Brexit could mean for the UK. Far from having our cake and eating it, we might not have our cake at all.

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Trouble Brewing for Guinness

The Irish border poses one of the biggest challenges for Theresa May’s government in achieving the EU exit that she has set out. Leaving the customs union – a requirement if the UK is to be free to negotiate its own trade deals – almost certainly would introduce the requirement for a customs border between the Ireland and the UK.

This poses a big problem for Northern Ireland, and for businesses in both countries that operate across the border. A well known example is the drink synonymous with Ireland, brewed at St James’ Gate in Dublin, which is driven to Belfast for canning, and then driven back to Dublin for onward distribution. A customs border, even if tariff free, would potentially add delays and certainly would add administrative costs to this constant cross border model. The brewery would presumably need to either source a different canning partner within Ireland, at a cost of jobs in Belfast, or risk losing market share as the additional overheads are priced into the drink, making it less competitive.

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You may take our EU, but you will never take our Freedom

Of movement, that is. It is hard to describe the feeling of dejection, and the frustration with my fellow countrymen, that I felt as the results of the EU referendum became clear. The people of the UK had voted to leave the European Union. The one question going round and round in my head without respite, was “Why?”.

I appreciate that the benefits of Freedom of Movement that I have enjoyed, are certainly not typical of the average British citizen, and are certainly of the more obvious in nature. In the December of 2007, I applied for a role within the organisation that I was working, the details of which were shrouded in secrecy, and related to a project only referred to in code names. By the time I learned that I had been successful in landing the job, I was already en route to visit my parents’ house in the Charente region of France, where we would have our family get together over Christmas.

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