Steve Bullock @GuitarMoog Immigrant, Musician, Sound Engineer, SNP, ex-negotiator for UK in EU. Brother of @JuliaKayPotts. Supporter of @FinalSayForAll. On Holiday. Back soon. Jan. 06, 2019 2 min read

This really is total fantasy. There is zero (really, zero) chance of EU27 accepting “a trade policy in which we and the EU together would be able to determine the trade agreements that we then concluded.” 1/

What Gardiner is describing here when he says “We would have a Customs Union…in which each individual sovereign nation is able to determine whether a trade agreement that they conclude jointly with other countries should go ahead” is EU membership. 2/

The claim that “’s perfectly possible under the EU’s Treaties, to have a situation where the UK and the EU jointly determine whether a trade agreement with another country is beneficial” is patently untrue. Autonomy of EU decision making is central to the Treaties. 3/

Agreements with 3rd countries are done under Article 218 and 207 of the Lisbon Treaty, which set out the procedures for negotiating, agreeing and ratifying them. 4/

There is no provision for a non-Member State to jointly determine, with the EU, the content of an EU agreement with another third country, or whether it should be agreed. This is a matter for the EU, its Member States, and the European Parliament. 5/

Moreover, what Gardiner is suggesting here would, on non-mixed agreements that are agreed by QMV rather than Unanimity, is a situation where the UK has more power than an individual EU Member State over concluding EU agreements. Why would EU Members possibly agree to that? 6/

It’s hard to decide which would be more alarming - that the Labour Front Bench actually believes this nonsense is possible, or that it knows it isn’t but is happy to adopt the Brexiters’ strategy of looking right into the camera and lying. 7/

It’s just so disappointing. At a point where the opposition should be calling out Brexiters’ and the Govt’s lies and unicorns, and forging away out of this mess, they are instead just peddling their own, and not just on a Customs Union. 8/8

P.S., for those saying “Well @Keir_Starmer has been talking to @MichelBarnier, so it must be possible”, here’s an extract from Barnier’s statement to the EP on 29th November, putting, again, autonomy of EU decision making as a central plank of EU policy. 

P.P.S., and for those saying that Gardiner was only referring to a consultative mechanism like with non-EU EEA states, here’s @jeremycorbyn himself saying that that arrangement would leave the UK “without a say”. 

You can follow @GuitarMoog.


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