Over the second half of September, a couple of things happened with respect to the Labour Party’s position on relations with the EU. I want to write something punchy, and made this page to collect my sources and shape m thoughts. This may not be easy to read because it as yet has no narrative. Enjoy!

Starmer’s speech in Montreal

Starmer reported in the London Economic [ also reported also in the Guardian, and the FT and Lammy made speeches stressing the importance of EU relations and Starmer made it clear that he’s looking to improve the FT&C agreement while remaining outside the single market and customs union.

The original position developed last year, expressed by Lammy in a speech to UK and EU. mirroring Starmer’s speech days earlier. It included a phrase that is continued in use by the Labour front bench today.

The questions that divided us for half a decade have been settled. We will not re-join the Single Market or the Customs Union.

I comment on the Lammy speech and the Starmer speech [my comments] made about the same time.

The Lammy speech includes the following (in the modal) which sums up, in Lammy’s words the Starmer/Lammy plan to “Fix Brexit”.

In my words, improving food import rules, i.e. veterinary and phyto-sanitary products, complete the financial services equivalence agreement, maintain the data adequacy agreement, [some] professional qualification recognition, to allow UK professional services consultants to work in the EU, and permitting our creatives to tour Europe on a single visa. The amendments to the freedom of labour or lack of it are one sided and unlikely to be agreed without some form of reciprocity. Cakeism or Extrawürst, take your choice.

Does the Starmer speech from last week signify a change in tack?

One clue that it might is reported by the FT (£ (-)), “Keir Starmer vows to strike a UK migrants ‘return agreement’ with EU”. This would be an extension of his five point plan.

At the same time as the EU issued its Sailing the Seas document (see below) , and Starmer repeated his “not in 50 years” mantra, UK in a Changing Europe published a report called Reviewing the Trade and Cooperation Agreement: potential paths; I have not yet read it.

I was also pointed at this thread on twitter, where Mujtaba Rahman argues that what Starmer says today is not as important as events; he also argues that the red lines will give Starmer room to do deals on a number of issues, such as foreign & security policy co-operation, fish, serious & substantive engagement with the “European Political Community” together with an acknowledgement that reducing trade friction means alignment/rule taking and even recognition that migration deal means co-op at EU level on a returns agreement. There is no evidence that Starmer is ready to work on intra-competency issues, except migration.

It is cclear that Labour’s front bench and its allies are articulating the value of the UK’s contribution to issues beyond the competency of the EU, although they are looking at defence, and other security domains.

What about the EU?

Whatever, it needs to be seen in the context of the EU’s consideration of its own reform which is being pushed by its enlargement and democratisation agenda. See also, the Franco-German proposals, “Sailing on High Seas: Reforming and Enlarging the EU for the 21st Century” for a multispeed & streamlined Europe. This is commented on by institute jacques delors. I ask “What impact will that have on the UK should it elect a Labour Government?” Labour’s first reaction is that it is not relevant, they are not interested in “associate membership”.

Although Paul seems to think there’s legs in it, or something similar, although he suggests a bi-lateral treaty where it looks like the EU may offer something else. I need something about bi-lateralism and governance i.e. with bi-lateralism, there is 121 conversations, and governance is between two parties, which rather ignores the need for the EU to develop a collective mandate but on paper, I can see why the Tories wanted it however, it doesn’t exist anywhere else such as the WTO, or CPTPP.

I also need to check Von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech. It also focuses on enlargement and maybe migration. See also the EU’s new-pact-migration-and-asylum page.

The Committee of 12’s report refers to the number of MEPs and the Cambridge Compromise, which has a ceiling and floor and implements regressive proportionality for each member state and thus its citizen/residents, within these limits. I last looked at this in a blog article “One Person/One Vote” which actually showed that the then implementation did not seem to meet the rules of the compromise. (Or perhaps I did the sums wrong.)

Back in the UK

See also, the UK in a changing Europe, Labour’s-brexit-policy-faces a hard collision with reality 22 Sep 2023

And the Tories in a speech by Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, to the European Affairs committee, are playing down divergence, and playing up relationships. I warned the movement that such a soft position could/would be outflanked by the Tories.

Dave Politics , , ,

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