Theresa May’s Checkers plan for relations between Britain and the EU after Brexit received a rather harsh reaction at an unofficial meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg in mid-September. After the public became aware of this reaction, conversations began about an alternative “agreement of Canada plus.” Some Brexit supporters have expressed their support for an alternative approach. Theresa May insists that the Canada Plus agreement will be worse than her scenario for developing the relationship between Britain and the EU.
What was Theresa May’s plan?
In terms of the development of Theresa May’s international relations, the following main points can be highlighted:
- Provide confidence in the exit process from the EU.
- Control and compliance with British law after leaving the EU.
- Strengthening the Union between the four countries of the United Kingdom.
- Development of a solution that allows you to maintain a common tourist area with the Republic of Ireland.
- Control over the number of visiting people from Europe.
- Protection of the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU.
- Protection of the rights of British workers in the EU.
- Free trade with European markets.
- New trade agreements with other countries.
- Provide a productive environment for science and innovation.
- Cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism.
- Smooth, streamlined, phased Brexit.
What is the Canada Plus deal?
Canada’s Free Trade Agreement with the EU, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), was signed in October 2016 after seven years of negotiation and ratification. CETA removes 99% of customs duties on goods moving between two trading blocks, but not built in the same market. Canada has almost no tariff trade in goods with the EU, but it faces more regulatory barriers to trade. The movement of services is also much limited than in the single market.
Main points of Canada Plus Deal:
- Removal of customs duties.
- Helping European companies become more competitive in Canada.
- Simplify offers for Canadian government contracts for EU companies.
- The opening of the Canadian market services for EU companies.
- The opening of the market for the export of European products and drinks.
- Protect traditional European food and drink from copying.
- Reducing the cost of EU exporters while adhering to standards.
- Benefits for small and medium businesses from the EU.
- The benefit to EU consumers.
- Facilitating the work of European specialists in Canada.
- Simplification for European investment companies in Canada.
- Help the creative industries in Europe.
- Support the right people to work.
Some Brexit supporters, including Boris Johnson, have argued that this model is more attractive to the UK due to the lack of commitment in exchange for access to the EU market.
What path of development of relations Theresa May will take so far is not clear, given that she has repeatedly spoken out against the Canada-style agreement in the future, declaring that “We can do this much better.” However, one should not underestimate the position of the EU and the pressure of the public, which is trying to figure out which of the options for the deal will lead to a stable future for the UK.