Cecilia Malmstrom said Britain can have a trade deal like Canada
The European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström has told MEPs that she also believes that a deal can be agreed more quickly than the protracted talks with Canada.
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) was signed in October ensuring tariff free access to the single market without having free movement or Canada paying money to the EU budget.
The major concession by Ms Malmström is a sign that the European Commission’s initial hard line to Brexit was posturing and that they are desperate to maintain trade with one of their biggest markets.
We can make that a role model
European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström
German car manufacturers have led the way in pressuring for a free trade deal with the UK and Prime Minister Theresa May made it a top priority.
The concession by the Commission also torpedoes the arguments made by Remoaners that the UK needs to stay a member of the single market instead of just having access.
The concession came in exchanges with Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman, a member of the European Parliament trade committee and leading Brexit campaigner.
Britain has been given a boost over the prospect of getting a Canada-style trade deal
He said: “I was wondering just on a more general point CETA has no freedom of movement in it and no fees to the EU, it talks of ‘strategic partnership’ which is the phrase British Prime Minister has used in her interesting speech last week.
“Do you see any way this being a good model for a future UK/ EU partnership and for other nations as well?”
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He went on: “This is, as you say, is a very good model agreement but I think it is now coming into play as being a real option [for the UK. I wonder if you can actually comment at this point on that?
“Obviously Canada has the same Queen, is English speaking, has a lot of the same laws and there is a lot in common and the service economy is also a good parallel.”
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Ms Malmström replied enthusiastically: “Yes! We can make that a role model. Yes Mr Campbell why not a model also for the UK?
“I think hopefully that will take slightly less time to negotiate but that’s a discussion for later.”