4

Recently I heard a BBC correspondent speaking on Radio 4 about why the UK is finding it so hard to get what it wants from the Brexit negotiations. The correspondent said that EU politicians had told him right at the start that they couldn't allow the UK to increase its influence and power over the EU.

Currently the UK has a nominal 1/28th influence over the EU, i.e. it is equal partners with the other 27 members. In practice soft power and the size of its economy give it much more, but doubtless it is far from the equal of all 27 others combined.

Post Brexit if the UK and EU were equal partners in a trade deal, that would seem to give the UK a massive increase in influence over EU policy and the other members. The BBC correspondent said that the EU would not allow that to happen, implying that the final deal would have to leave the UK with very little choice when it comes to dealing with the EU.

Is the UK seeking to increase its influence over the EU with the deals it is seeking, e.g. the Chequers proposal or anything else that the government has put forward?

  • 3
    You might want to double-check the question title. – F1Krazy Aug 16 '18 at 11:12
  • 6
    The current 1/28th measure is only correct under some circumstances, since the definition of "equal" varies. For example the number of MEPs a country gets is roughly proportional to its population. Similarly, qualified majority voting requires 55% of the countries representing 65% of the population. – origimbo Aug 16 '18 at 12:07
  • 6
    Sounds like you consider ability to not agree to a deal as influence. It is only superficially so. Actual influence means getting deal, trade or otherwise, that benefits you more than other party. "No deal" ability runs both ways, after leaving, UK might want pie from the sky, that in no way implies they have any way of actually getting it as it's EU that can simply refuse such ludicrous demands. Considering that UK needs access to EU markets more than the opposite, UKs influence over EU is going to sharply drop; getting present day-like access would cost them way more than it costs now. – M i ech Aug 16 '18 at 13:00
  • 2
    @Jontia good question, I'd like an answer to why the UK should leave when it will be worse off outside the club. So far I have not heard anyone offer a good one. – user Aug 16 '18 at 13:36
  • 2
    Re "Post Brexit if the UK and EU were equal partners in a trade deal, that would seem to give the UK a massive increase in influence over EU policy and the other members. " Like Japan or Canada has? How is that a massive influence? The EU has offered a free trade deal like that to the UK already. Of course, what the UK wants (Chequers) is a different matter. – Fizz Aug 16 '18 at 19:58
10

Yes. If the EU accepted the Chequers deal this would leave the UK with more power than the remaining members of the EU. A good summary is the BBC article on the subject but I'll quote the document directly for the remaining of this answer (emphasis is mine).


1) The UK agrees to use the common rulebook but wants the same power as before brexit in negotiating the standards. Also the UK wants to retain the possibility of refusing to follow those same standards. It mentions that it understands that this would have consequences but, at this point in the document (see the next point) presents no legal framework to deal with it effectively leaving the consequences in legal limbo. Finally it puts "services" out of the deal.

I. POSITION ON THE FUTURE RELATIONSHIP

a. The UK and the EU would maintain a common rulebook for all goods including agri-food, with the UK making an upfront choice to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods, covering only those necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border.

(...)

The UK would of course continue to play a strong role in shaping the international standards that underpin them, and Parliament would have oversight of the incorporation of
these rules into the UK’s legal order – with the ability to choose not to do so, recognising that this would have consequences.

(...)

We would strike different arrangements for services, where it is in our interests to have regulatory flexibility, recognising the UK and the EU will not have
current levels of access to each other’s markets

2) It mentions that the regulation would be jointly done with UK and EU courts but only considering the rules the UK agreed to follow of the rulebook.

c. The UK and the EU would establish a joint institutional > framework to provide for the consistent interpretation and application of UK-EU agreements by both parties. This would be done in the UK by UK courts, and in the EU by EU courts – with due regard paid to EU case law in areas where the UK continued to apply a common rulebook.

3) The UK wants to collect EU and UK tariffs in order to be able to maintain different rules depending on the partner country (organization).

d. The UK and the EU would work together on the phased introduction of a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU as if a combined customs territory. The UK would apply the UK’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the UK, and the EU’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the EU - becoming operational in stages as both sides complete the
necessary preparations. This would enable the UK to control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world and ensure businesses paid the right or no tariff - in the vast majority of cases upfront, and otherwise through a repayment mechanism.

4) No longer follow common Agriculture and Fisheries policy:

d. mean that the UK will leave the Common Agricultural
Policy and Common Fisheries Policy – taking back control of UK waters as an independent coastal state and designing a domestic agricultural policy that works in the best interests of the UK;

5) No longer accept the jurisdiction of the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union):

g. restore the supremacy of UK courts, ending the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK, with no more preliminary references from UK courts, but committing that 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;

6) The UK wants to leave the free mobility of EU citizens out of the deal:

h. end free movement, giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country;

7) Ending the financial contributions to the EU:

j. end vast annual payments to the EU budget, with appropriate contributions for joint action in specific areas, such as science and innovation, releasing funds for domestic priorities – in particular our long-term plan for the NHS;


Michel Barnier dismissed the proposal almost immediately. Many of the points of the agreement would leave the UK with far more power than a normal EU member which pay contributions, follows EU court jurisdiction, follows the freedom of movement principle, and cannot cherry pick which sectors to apply the rules.

The document is also fairly populist often making unnecessary remarks (that almost look like campaign banners) where none was needed. It clearly seems like a document for internal consumption and trying to appease the more nationalist factions of the Tory party.

  • mean that the UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy – taking back control of UK waters as an independent coastal state and designing a
    domestic agricultural policy that works in the best interests of the UK;
  • end free movement, giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country;
  • restore the supremacy of UK courts, ending the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK
  • end vast annual payments to the EU budget, with appropriate contributions for joint action in specific areas, such as science and innovation, releasing
    funds for domestic priorities
  • Your answer (actually Barnier's) also answers a qurestion that was posed before there was offical EU rection politics.stackexchange.com/questions/32090/… – Fizz Aug 16 '18 at 19:41
  • 1
    @Fizz I personally think Barnier was very diplomatic in his response. Currently some members of the UK cabinet have been trying to negotiate directly with the member states (something I find regrettable) but I have doubts it will work. I do agree with the EU commission that members must start preparing for the no deal scenario. And I also must admit that I was extremely disappointed with the chequers deal. Not only it proposed things that could effectively lead to the breaking on union, but it also had a far more inflammatory tone that I was expecting to see in this kind of document. – armatita Aug 16 '18 at 22:38
  • @armatita could you perhaps refocus your answer what specific ares and ways the UK will have more power/influence than it currently does under this proposal? – user Aug 17 '18 at 11:16
  • 1
    @user It's on the first paragraph of the third block. All of the answer can be reduced to this. To participate in the single market, you have to follow the four freedoms (goods, services, capital, and people). Also everyone relies on the EU Court of Justice (to avoid member states creating their own rules). The UK wants to participate in the single market but have power to follow or not the rules at their own discretion, create their own framework for services, not pay contributions, end the free movement of people, etc. No one has this. – armatita Aug 17 '18 at 11:40
  • 2
    @Dunk "As it stands, the UK has no say in rules imposed upon it by the EU." It's sentences like this that make me question if the Brexit vote was an informed one. EU law is decided by national representatives (one from each member, and chosen by the people you voted for), and by MEPs you also voted for. Further the EU treaties require ratification from every single member (that means approval by 100% of the members). This isn't exactly new or secret information, yet somehow I'm the one being accused of arbitrarily reframing contexts. – armatita Aug 29 '18 at 9:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .