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May launches its plan despite the suspicion of the City, the Tory hard wing and Brussels

The text proposes a "free trade area" for goods, a more lax service relationship and close cooperation in security

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May launches its plan despite the suspicion of the City, the Tory hard wing and Brussels

The most important document published by London since referendum in 2016, proposes to EU an "association agreement". It would include a "free trade area" for goods, a more lax service relationship, and close cooperation in security matters. The 100-page plan has important omissions: it avoids talking about eventual economic contributions in exchange for access to single market that it pursues, and is still very vague, albeit somewhat more flexible, in terms of free movement of persons and jurisdiction of EU Court of Justice.

This is first time that London details its negotiating position. A position which, as prime Minister herself acknowledged, has evolved in context of a "need for pragmatism and commitment of both sides". It surpasses numerous red lines traced by May in past, in half a dozen speeches that have been shaping posture, and confirms its choice of a smooth breakup with EU: an exit that does not dinamie close ties that exist today and that allows Evit A physical frontier between Norrn Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The bad news for May is that proposal won't prosper in its current wording. The good news is that both London and Brussels know it, and neir side should be overreacting. As was put on Thursday someone who has lived process from within, "Brussels will not urinate on plan from too high," because he knows that would ruin process.

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May's success is that he has succeeded in moving card and that his move has fractured his party's hard wing. This is now divided into two sides: realistic eurosceptics and romantics. They share idea that establishment, embodied by Ministry of Economy, has betrayed spirit of referendum. The difference is that romantics prefer a Brexit without agreement — an opinion that shares, according to a recent survey, 49% of Tory militancy — and realists are willing to pull forward and give battle in next phase, once Britain is out Of EU. Anything that you remember, trust, can be modified when you really start negotiating future relationship as of March 2019.

May refore has immediate support of his Government — following resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis — and of realistic Eurosceptics, as well as of entrepreneurs. But little else. Brussels will not be able to accept plan in its current tenor. Labour, who described proposal as "unviable," will find grounds to oppose, because that is work of opposition. And text has opened to May a new front: financial sector.


The services, which account for 80% of British economy, would be excluded from free trade zone and would be "more barriers in UK access to EU market than re are today." London renounces its initial mutual recognition plan, in which both parties would recognise respective regulations on financial institutions, following Brussels warning that it will not create a tailor-made model for United Kingdom. TheCityUK, an association representing British financial Services, considered "regrettable and frustrating" that government buried plan, and Carine McGuinness, City of London's administrative leader, spoke of "a severe blow to financial sector."

May has moved token, but he can't stay re. Now you have two options: move forward, proposing a customs union that satisfies business world and Brussels, or backwards, looking for a model like EU's relationship with Canada, to avoid revolt of Eurosceptics. In Brussels y know that euphemism for "facilitated customs agreement" that plan uses has to end in a customs union, but that se two words cannot be used, at risk of breaking deck. Two years after Brexit referendum, at least re is already a starting point and game can begin.

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