On the future relationship with the European Union, Minister Michael Gove deliver a statement in the House of Commons.
“I would now like to make a statement on the government’s negotiations of our future relationship with the European Union. Yesterday, the Prime Minister met the president of the European Council Charles Michel, the president of the European commission Ursula von der Leyen and the president of the European Parliament David Sassoli via video conference. The purpose of this high-level meeting as the political declaration puts it; was to take stock of progress on the negotiations and to agree actions to move forward.
All parties agreed that now was the moment to accelerate the pace of these negotiations in the Prime Minister’s words to put a tiger in the tank. The three presidents welcomed Prime Minister’s call for greater peace focus and flexibility in the negotiations, and the tempo of the talks process has now been escalated. I’m pleased to say that both sides pledged yesterday in a joint statement, which is made public immediately afterwards that they would intensify the talks in July and if possible seek to find an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement. Our respective chief negotiators and their teams will therefore intensify talks from the end of this month, starting on June the 29th. I also welcome the commission president statement yesterday that the EU is available 24/7 and we will be too. Meetings will take place every week in July with a keen focus on finding an early understanding on the principles which will underpin a broad agreement. And as the Prime Minister said yesterday the faster we can do this the better. We are looking to get things done in July. We do not want to see this process going on into the autumn and then the winter. We all need certainty and that’s what we’re aiming to provide. Yesterday’s high-level meeting followed the second meeting of the withdrawal agreement joint committee, which took place on Friday the 12th of June, again via video conference. I’m grateful to the vice president of the European Commission for the very constructive way in which progress is made on the his chairmanship. In that meeting, I set up our plans to implement the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland an update to the EU and our ongoing work to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK. This is a priority for the UK government. I also sought assurance for our part that the EU intended to meet its obligations under the withdrawal agreement around the protection of the rights of our Nationals currently living in the EU. We have concerns in this area and we will continue to press the EU to ensure that our citizens rights are properly protected. [Mr. Speaker…Madam Deputy Speaker, please forgive me] If we are to make the progress that we all wants to see in our negotiations on the future relationship, we all need to be both clear-eyed and constructive. Our EU partners agreed yesterday that during the for fall and negotiating rounds completed to date, we’ve all gained greater clarity and understanding of our respective positions. Discussions have been productive, legal texts have been exchanged, and even…this has has occurred as both sides have had to deal with uniquely difficult challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. But as my Right Honourable friend the paymaster general advised the house last week, following the fourth round of negotiations, it is still the case has been insufficient movement on the most difficult areas where differences of principle remain. We are committed in long with a political declaration to securing a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, built on the precedents of the agreements that the EU has reached with other sovereign states such as Canada, Japan and South Korea. And we’re ready to be flexible about how we secure an FTA which works from both sides.
The UK however has been clear throughout that the new relationship we seek with the EU, must fully reflect our regain sovereignty, independence and autonomy. We did not vote in June 2016 to leave the EU but still to be run by the EU. We cannot agree to a deal is the EU court of justice a role in our future relationship. We cannot accept restrictions on our legislative and economic freedom unprecedented in any other free trade agreement, and we cannot agree to EU’s demands that we stick to the status quo on their access to British fishing waters. So there must be movement, and the clock is ticking. The transition period ends on December the 31st that was a manifesto pledge or which this government was elected, and it was the instruction from the electorate in the 2016 referendum to leave the single market and the Customs Union and to cross the opportunities of full economic and political independence.
Four years on from the referendum result, no one can argue that this is the rushed or a precipitated step. It is delivering at last on democracy. Of course, we will manage the adjustment required at the end of the transition period in a flexible and pragmatic way to minimise any challenges and to maximise all opportunities, but the call from opposition politicians to extend the transition period is not in the National interest.
Stay under the EU’s control after this December would mean paying money into EU budgets that we could spend on our NHS. Accepting new laws over which would have no say, laws shaped in the interests of others, and being stopped from taking the actions that we need to supercharge our economic recovery. That would clearly not be in our national interest. And of course there is no intrinsic reason why deal cannot be concluded in good time as Roberto Azevêdo the director general of the World Trade Organisation confirmed the weekend a deal between the UK and the EU can be reached in a timely way if the political will is there. The UK’s political will is there. Our position is reasonable based on precedent and we still have the time to bring a deal home. That is why the Prime Minister has led the drive to accelerate these talks to reach agreement and to ensure that next January we leave the regulatory reach of the EU and embrace the new opportunities our independence will bring. And I commend the statement to the house.”