Possible UK single market access restrictions criticised

Davis criticises UK single market access © Estonian Foreign Ministry
David Davis (right) © Estonian Foreign Ministry

UK Brexit secretary David Davis has criticised a leaked EU paper which suggested it could restrict UK single market access during the country’s Brexit transition period.

The report, published on Wednesday (7 February), suggested that restricting UK single market access could be a tactic employed in the event of a trade dispute during the transition phase. It argued that in the event of a dispute during the transition, the withdrawal agreement should allow the EU to “suspend certain benefits deriving for the United Kingdom from participation in the internal market”.

Now, following a series of meetings with the Brexit cabinet committee, Davis has spoken out against the leaked paper. The cabinet meetings were held to establish a consensus on the UK’s approach to its future relationship with the EU. Davis welcomed the “constructive” atmosphere of the meeting, and said that good progress has been made in building a new relationship between the two parties.

What did David Davis say about the report?

According to the BBC, Davis lamented that the leaked report was a step backwards in negotiations, and struck a “discourteous” tone which would not be conducive to a positive future relationship. Davis explained: “What we’re about is building an implementation period which is to build a bridge to a future where we work well together.”

He said: “I do not think it was in good faith to publish a document with frankly discourteous language and implying that they could arbitrarily terminate in effect the implementation period. That’s not what the aim of this exercise is. It’s not in good faith. We think it was unwise to publish that.”

Davis also criticised a recent report which suggested that the UK’s economic growth would slow after Brexit under any of the most likely scenarios, calling it incomplete. He warned: “Every single financial or economic forecast related to Brexit has proven wrong so far. [Reports are] all underestimating the progress of the economy. This is a work in progress. This is not a complete policy document.”

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