Trade and Security - post-Brexit
The UK is looking for a deal and we have two bargaining chips: we owe the EU money and the EU needs a fully-integrated security policy that includes UK Intelligence Services....
The Article 50 letter appears conciliatory: the UK is looking for a deal and we have two bargaining chips: we owe the EU money and the EU needs a fully integrated security policy that includes UK Intelligence Services. But in conflating any trade deal with regional - indeed global - security, Theresa May has highlighted just how confused the negotiating process is likely to be and, of course, just how weaponized trade has become.
The Treaty of Rome laid out two principles and negotiators would do well to remember these. First, the goal was to prevent war from happening in Europe ever again. Second was to create a European Economic Area in which trade between nations would flourish. Tacitly, the second was seen as a bedrock for guaranteeing the first; but the two were, and always have been, distinct policy areas, as indeed they should be.
If the rhetoric now makes European security a bargaining chip to ensure we get a trade deal, then trade has, effectively, become the means of achieving a security end. Rather than economic integration that makes war less likely, as was the case under the Treaty of Rome, the threat of conflict and risks to security are to be used as a means to get a deal on trade.
This is dangerous territory and militates against constructive and economic dialogue from the outset. While politicians have been keen to stress since the letter was delivered that it was just a statement of fact with no harm intended, the statement is a much bigger one than perhaps policy makers, and their negotiators realise. This points to a degree of naivete at the start of the Brexit process which is worrying.
Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO
Tel: +44 (0)7803 710711