President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Theresa May of United Kingdom spoke this Friday about the future of trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. Macron stated that he would not punish or reward Britain, but that they would have to obey EU laws to retain access to the single market. “If you want access to the single market – including the financial services – be my guest. But it means that you need to contribute to the budget and acknowledge European jurisdiction,” the President said.
What the single market means, to those who are unfamiliar with it, is a type of trade bloc where most trade barriers for goods have been removed, with common policies on product regulation, freedom of movement of capital and labour, enterprise and services. The single market in question here is the European Single Market – which, confusingly enough, is also called the common market. You can read more about the European Single Market (ESM) here.
Macron stated firmly that “there can be no differentiated access for the financial services,” a statement May might have found slightly disappointing, but she expects a mutually beneficial deal to be done between the EU and UK after leaving the EU and no longer being full members of the ESM. She told reporters: “There will be a different relationship in [the] future … but I believe that it is actually in the interests not just of the United Kingdom, but also of the European Union as it goes forward to continue to have a good economic relationship and partnership with the UK. I believe that should cover both goods and services. I think the City of London will continue to be a major global financial centre.”
Whether the City of London will continue to be a major global financial centre is up to fate to decide, but according to Macron, the United Kingdom has two choices: (1) leaving the union, lose the benefits of the single market, and create a new trade agreement with the EU similar to those with Norway and Canada and; (2) remain in the union and keep the benefits of the single market.
Even though Britain has voted in favour of leaving the union, it turns out that the Brexit referendum weren’t actually legally binding, according to Adam Payne of Business Insider. This thus become a possible outcome, but one which we shall be careful of expecting. As the first year since the vote has almost passed, the clock is beginning to tick for getting all the laws and treaties in place before next year, 29 March 2019.