Think tank plans legal action to keep UK in EU single market

  • Think tank plans legal action to keep UK in EU single market

Think tank plans legal action to keep UK in EU single market

Over 80 British parliamentarians from the pro-Brexit European Reform Group wrote to Tusk on Friday asking that the EU summit he will chair on December 15-16 "guarantee. reciprocal rights" for people living overseas on either side of what will be a new EU-UK frontier once Britain has left the European Union.

In a one-page reply, heavy with irony, he said he welcomed the eurosceptics' concern for expatriates, "especially" since he had assumed their Brexit vote was motivated by "the rejection of the free movement of people and all the rights it entails".

The EEA, set up in the 1990s, extends those benefits to some non-EU members like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

This is significant because if the prime minister intends to leave the single market and negotiate a trade deal with the European Union then the Brexit process could take just as long as CETA, or even longer than that.

Membership of the EEA, which includes the European Union countries as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, provides access to the single market and its free movement of goods, capital, services and people.

British Influence, a pro-EU think-tank, is demanding a judicial review into the United Kingdom government's assumption that membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) automatically ends when the country leaves the European Union (EU).

The memo comes a day after pro-EU think tank British Influence said it was writing to Brexit Secretary David Davis to seek clarification on the government's position regarding the UK's status in the wider EEA when it quits the EU.

All EU member states are in the European Economic Area and it had been assumed that when Britain leaves the EU it would automatically leave the EEA as well.

Is this good or bad news for the government?

If the Article 127 of the EEA goes to the parliament, it is likely to divide the lawmakers and break the small majority that supports Brexit.

He said: "With one shot, if it is proved that if Britain leaves the European Union it does not leave the single market, then the issue dies".

According to the memo, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, "wanted to see what the deal looks like first", but the government is reluctant to provide details. But it might be economically better than having to rely on World Trade Organisation rules which could involve high tariffs and barriers to trade. The UK has been a member of the body since it began in 1994. To do that it is necessary to invoke Article 127, meaning that there might need to be another Parliamentary vote on the matter.

This suggests those in the Department for Exiting the European Union are anxious that the French will be the biggest obstacle to Britain getting the kind of deal it wants, in other words staying in the single market.

"There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price, otherwise we will be in negotiations that will not end well and, inevitably, will have economic and human consequences", he said in a speech Thursday evening.

The government is already fighting in the courts to stop MPs getting the final say over triggering the Article 50 process.