British Prime Minister Sunak Dismisses Smoother Relations With the EU

The British government has no intention of changing Brexit and aligning more legislation with European legislation. For example, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded to a newspaper article that claimed that London would consider a relationship based on the Swiss model.

“The UK does not pursue any relationship with Europe based on alignment with the laws of the European Union,” Sunak made clear Monday at a conference of the country’s leading employers’ organisation. “I voted for Brexit. I believe and know that Brexit has brought and will continue to bring important benefits and opportunities to our country,” he referred to, among other things, immigration policy.

Sunak spoke out about his European policy after the Sunday Times newspaper reported that some members of the British government would push for stronger economic relations with the EU and a relationship “on the Swiss model” due to the country’s financial and economic problems would like. Switzerland has privileged access to the European internal market but must follow several European rules, including those on the free movement of persons.

The United Kingdom left the EU in January 2020 and, after a one-year transition period, also left the European internal market and customs union. This also brought an end to the free movement of workers. Although both parties concluded a comprehensive free trade agreement, customs duties must be paid in certain sectors, and the administrative burden has risen sharply. Bilateral trade suffers greatly.

Against the background of the economic and financial malaise in the United Kingdom, there is increasing criticism of the consequences of Brexit. Last week, the public service in charge of economic prospects and public finance supervision (Office for Budget Responsibility, OBR) said leaving the EU had had a “significant negative effect” on trade flows. Moreover, according to the polling agency Yougov, 56 percent of Britons currently believe that Brexit was a mistake.

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