IEA Brexit Unit responds to the news that the Brexit talks are moving to phase two

Responding to the news that the EU has agreed to move to the next stage of Brexit talks, Julian Jessop, Chief Economist and Head of the IEA Brexit Unit, said:

“The UK risks being boxed in permanently to a ‘soft Brexit’, where it retains the obligations of EU membership with no control over the rules and none of the benefits of leaving. The EU’s proposed terms for a transition period are already along these lines and would effectively put Brexit on hold.
 
“A transition period now seems to be a necessary evil. Nonetheless, it should be time-limited, short, and materially different from the status quo. The UK must be allowed to start to negotiate its own trade deals and be exempted from any new EU rules that are not absolutely necessary for the transition.
 
“At the end of this period, a ‘Canada ++’ deal is probably the most realistic way to deliver a ‘free market’ Brexit. But it is important that the UK retains the option of a clean break.
 
“It should be possible to avoid a ‘hard border’ in Ireland while still regaining control of domestic regulations and external trade. The alternative of continuing to replicate the single market and customs union after the transition would prevent the UK from ever making the most of the opportunities created by Brexit.”

Notes to editors

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