Thread: In my latest @FT column, I explain why the Chequers proposal points to what is both the most likely Brexit outcome and the best available Brexit compromise. Its fundamental idea is a free circulation zone for goods. It should be taken seriously.
Chequers still clings to some cake-and-eat-it ideas - in particular the parallel customs systems idea; too narrow a scope of regulatory alignment; and governance proposals based on the delusion that the UK and the EU are equal partners.
But it should be clear that the basic priority really is frictionless trade in goods. That has driven UK government a long way in recent months; my bet is it will drive it further.
By the end of the year or so, the UK government will have shifted to a broader scope of EU rules it will mirror; a court-style governance scheme (my preference is the Efta court a la EEA); and a customs union (but it may call it something else).
(Not addressed in the column: would this would pass the Commons? CU almost did even with government against it. It will with the government for it. And public plans for no deal have predictable effect of scaring people enough that MPs will vote for whatever deal is available.)
If the UK makes these moves - and only then - the ball is in the EU's court. It will have to engage with the fundamental idea of a pooled sovereignty arrangement that removes all barriers to good trade.
Imagine if Japan or Canada offered this. Imagine if they proposed to attach themselves to the EU customs union and goods-related regulations, under an international court's jurisdiction, consciously giving up economy for the sake of frictionless trade with a bigger economy.
If it were Japan or Canada proposing this, could it possibly be in the EU's interest to turn it down? No. Such a deal would (1) liberalise trade further - good for the same reasons as tariff-cutting FTAs. (2) codify the Brussels effect of spreading EU rules beyond its territory.
So with other third countries, the EU would have all reason to accept the arrangement Chequers points towards (but hasn't quite reached yet). The EU rightly says the UK will be treated as third country after Brexit. Hence it should accept an improved version of Chequers. /Ends
Thread from the excellent @MESandbu - though does rather beg the question of whether PM can soften Chequers further given it would involve crossing her own red lines.
This is worth a read, but am a little confused re services, and no mention of freedom of movement. But true to say that UK has gone further towards pooling sovereignty with EU than perhaps is realized. Still some way to go but HMG should sell this alignment approach to EU-27 more
Ssh, they don't want too many to realise it. On services: I think UK is resigned to pursuing case-by-case equivalence like any third country. And free movement of people is the one red line that will be maintained, I predict (courts and rule-taking, and obviously money, will go).