Mrs May vows to ‘explore options’ for UK ‘participation’ in EU single energy market

In her latest ‘flagship’ speech on Brexit – which was largely concerned with re-inventing the wheel – prime minister Mrs May did ‘sort of’ clarify what Brexit might mean for the energy industry in the UK

She then specified the ‘five key tests’ on what Brexit means; –

  • First, the agreement  with the EU must ‘respect the referendum.’
  • Second, the new agreement with the EU ‘must endure’.
  • Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security.
  • Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy.
  • And fifth, it must ‘strengthen our union of nations and our union of people.’

Energy policy was not mentioned in these tests, but May later said:“There are many other areas where the UK and EU economies are closely linked – including energy, transport, digital, law, science and innovation, and education and culture.

On energy, we will want to secure broad energy co-operation with the EU.

“This includes protecting the single electricity market across Ireland and Northern Ireland – and exploring options for the UK’s continued participation in the EU’s internal energy market.

“We also believe it is of benefit to both sides for the UK to have a close association with Euratom.”

On goods and services, she said:

“We recognise that certain aspects of trade in services are intrinsically linked to the single market and therefore our market access in these areas will need to be different.

“But we should only allow new barriers to be introduced where absolutely necessary.

We don’t want to discriminate against EU service providers in the UK. And we wouldn’t want the EU to discriminate against UK service providers.

“So we want to limit the number of barriers that could prevent UK firms from setting up in the EU and vice versa, and agree an appropriate labour mobility framework that enables UK businesses and self-employed professionals to travel to the EU to provide services to clients in person and that allows UK businesses to provide services to the EU over the phone or the internet. And we want to do the same for EU firms providing services to the UK.

“And given that UK qualifications are already recognised across the EU and vice versa – it would make sense to continue to recognise each other’s qualifications in the future.”

The freedoms of movement, goods, services, people – and mutual recognition of professional and vocational qualifications – are all already part of the EU/ EEC/ single market.

5 Mar 2018

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