Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Why Britain needs to stay in the Single Market even when it leaves the EU

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the type of Brexit she wanted would be a 'hard Brexit'-meaning that her plan is for Britain to completely sever all ties with the European Union, even its single market which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland amongst European nations who are not part of the EU.

Alongside calling for Britain to withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights, whose convention it helped create, this is one of the biggest mistakes Britain can ever make in this matter. Britain needs proper access to international markets without having to pay excessive tariffs in order to make the investments into green technology and infrastructure it needs to make sure it can prosper outside the EU. Given the economic output of the single market, combined with fundamental freedoms (including free movement of workers, importantly) that it provides to all p$articipating states, I believe it is imperative that Britain only goes for a soft Brexit allowing to maintain its position in the Single Market, whilst escaping some of the more problematic EU regulations like the Common Agricultural Policy. Britain needs more small farms and a better ability to help its fisheries recover if it is to reduce its reliance on imported food in the long-term, make its agriculture environmentally friendly, and allow more sustainable maintenance of fish stocks, especially those in decline.

Britain also does not have a plan for a viable alternative socio-economic model if it leaves the Single Market and other EU-related institutions; it cannot just be a tax haven on the edge of Europe and the increased tariffs it would have to pay regarding European trade could have a crippling effect. Its contributions to markets are too significant for that, and it obtains substantial benefits from its connection to the Single Market. Many people do not want a hard Brexit anyway-a recent poll showed that only just over half of those who voted Leave in the EU referendum want a 'hard' Brexit as opposed to a 'soft' Brexit. Although Theresa May has promised that both houses of Parliament will be able to vote on the deal, it is the will of all people that needs to prevail, as are the wishes of society's various groups who will all be affected differently by Brexit when it finally happens.

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