July 24, 2024

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British Labor is seeking to strengthen ties with the EU without reopening Brexit wounds

British Labor is seeking to strengthen ties with the EU without reopening Brexit wounds

For a decade, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union has dominated British politics. Nowadays she never appears. Of course Labor leader Keir Starmer likes it.

He has worked diligently to win back the support of working-class voters, millions of whom were lured by Conservative Boris Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done” five years ago, when Labor campaigned to leave an open path to remain in the EU.

Starmer’s reward is that polls now predict he will enter Downing Street as Prime Minister this weekend, perhaps with a historic majority. But if he gets there, he won’t be able to keep Brexit out of the news for long.

Its mandate is to stimulate economic growth. Businesses say it will remove some barriers caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union. That, in turn, would mean reopening contentious negotiations with Brussels.

The UK finally left the EU under Johnson in January 2020. In its determination to turn the corner on Brexit, Labor has rejected the possibility of returning to the EU’s single market or customs union. But he says it’s still possible to remove trade barriers to help companies, especially smaller ones, that are struggling with high costs and bureaucracy.

Labor does not want to “reopen the wounds of the past”, said Jonathan Reynolds, a Labor MP on track to become business minister in a Starmer cabinet.

“We need to get a better deal and there are real improvements,” he told an event on Thursday organized by the British Chambers of Commerce, a business lobby group that said the parties should stop “floating eggs” on relations with the EU.

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A survey by accountancy firm Menzies found that 1 in 3 British businesses wanted to reopen the Brexit deal reached under Johnson’s government, 1 in 5 wanted a new government to rejoin the single market, and 20% cited obstacles from Brexit. As a factor limiting international expansion.

One of Labour’s first promises was to strike a deal with the EU to ease border controls on animal products, which have been a stumbling block for British farmers and importers. They require mutual recognition of certain professional qualifications and easy access to touring artists.

Labor presented relatively modest gains without reopening the Brexit deal reached under Johnson.

However, even these small steps will require tough choices, said one EU source, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss hypothetical future negotiations.

An EU source said a deal would require the UK to submit to dispute settlement through the Court of Justice of the European Union. This is anathema to Brexiteers who see it as an infringement on British sovereignty.

The Conservatives say Labour’s policies would “undo Brexit”, subjecting the UK to coalition court rulings once again.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accused Labor of planning to accept a return to free movement of people in its plans to reach a better Brexit deal with the EU in a debate this week. Starmer said he would reject any deal with the EU that would increase immigration.

Reynolds said he wants to improve the trade situation: “It’s not very easy, but there’s a negotiation, there’s a process that I can see to do these things.”