Britain could strike 'Ukraine Plus' style Brexit deal – think-tank

10:20, 30 January 2017
World
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Since Brits voted to leave the European Union last June, all manner of different Brexit models — Swiss, Norwegian, Canadian, Hard, Soft, red, white and blue — have been mentioned, but a whole new type of deal has now been suggested by think-tank, the Germany-based Centre for European Policy, according to Business Insider.

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In a new research paper, the organization suggests that the UK could follow a so-called "Ukraine Plus" model and establish a relationship with the EU similar to that of the Eastern European state, Business Insider reports.

"A "Ukraine Plus" model, which goes further on free trade and on collaboration regarding security and defense policy, would however be in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the EU," the authors write.

When Prime Minister Theresa May delivered her key Brexit speech earlier in January, she effectively ruled out membership in the European Economic Area, confirming that Britain plans to leave the European Single Market in return for controls over immigration.

Read alsoEP mulling more trade preferences for Ukraine – Foreign ministryThat is why the Centre for European Politics sees a deal similar to Ukraine's as a viable option for the UK.

"A model for this special type of partnership could be provided by the Association and Free Trade Agreement which the EU has concluded with the Ukraine. This has been in effect since January 1, 2016, although some of it only provisionally because ratification by the Netherlands is still outstanding,” reads the study report.

"Firstly, the "Ukraine Model" corresponds to the British objectives in that it contains substantial market access but does not require the application of EU law or compliance with the case law of the ECJ, nor does it provide for free movement but it does allow free trade agreements with third countries. Thus the United Kingdom's four key requirements are met," the authors say.

Read alsoUK Supreme Court rules parliament must have vote to trigger article 50 – mediaThe think-tank does acknowledge that issues could arise with a Ukraine-style deal for the UK, particularly when it comes to the financial services sector — which has been one of the most contentious issues since the Brexit vote.

Banks currently have the right to "passport" their financial licences in one EU market to another, preventing them having to go through the costly and complicated process of being regulated in each market where they operate, but that passport could be lost after the Brexit process has been completed, causing chaos for Britain's financial services industry.

Read alsoEuropean Commission’s Hahn comments on prospects of ratification of EU-Ukraine deal by the Netherlands"The agreement with Ukraine is unlikely to satisfy the United Kingdom as regards the scope of trade liberalization because it contains numerous restrictions on market access particularly for cross-border services. The United Kingdom will probably require better access to the EU internal market, primarily in the interests of the British finance industry," the report notes.

That's where the "Plus" comes in, with the UK creating a bespoke deal that includes many of the features of the Ukrainian agreement, but also includes concessions to the banking and finance sectors.

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