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Theresa May Prepares to Walk ‘Brexit’ Tightrope With Speech


Tuesday 10 January 2017, by Carlos San Juan

First, vital to Conservatives who consider sovereignty most important is getting Britain out from under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Second, control over immigration is important to most Brexit voters. The logic of these two priorities would mean that Britain could no longer be a part of the European Union’s single market for trade in goods and services and freedom of travel and labor. Nor could it be a part of the customs union for goods alone, because that also would mean both paying Brussels and having no ability to strike separate trade deals with China, say, or Washington.

So the only logical future relationship would seem to be a new trade deal in goods and services that Britain would have to negotiate with the rest of the European Union — a negotiation that Mr. Rogers suggested, to Mrs. May’s unhappiness, could take a decade.

In the meantime, he had suggested, Britain should negotiate a transitional agreement that would preserve free trade and would probably look a lot like Britain’s current membership — with the obligations, but without the right to participate in decision-making.

Without such a transition, Britain risks a “hard Brexit,” with considerable damage to its trade and especially to its dominant financial services sector.

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