Cambridge for Europe has issued the following statement in response to the news that a post-Brexit trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union has been agreed.
“We’re relieved that the UK and the EU have agreed a trade deal, but the truth is that this deal is nothing to celebrate. It avoids the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit, but it is inferior in every respect to the deal the UK had as a member of the EU. As a Brexit damage limitation exercise it is both inadequate and for many businesses too late.
With this thin deal, Brexit will still be a drag on the UK’s economic growth for years to come, and will slow recovery from the Covid pandemic. Customs barriers will still create new costs and cause delays for our exporters and importers, and the deal does little for the UK’s service sector, the largest part of our economy.
IT consultants, musicians, engineers, legal advisors and many other highly skilled professionals will all find working in the EU much more expensive, due to the costs of carnets for their equipment, getting professional qualifications recognised, and other red tape that had been banished by our membership of the Single Market. These new costs will undermine the competitiveness of many dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises in our region, so negotiating a new trade deal for services must now be a priority.
The Covid crisis has highlighted both the strength of UK science and the importance of its cooperative endeavours within the European research community. The UK Government must commit to membership of the Horizon Europe research programme, which will help secure our place as a world-leader in scientific research.
We welcome the level playing field commitments contained in this trade deal and the strong dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms. These will help protect environmental standards and workers’ rights here in the UK, as well as trade with our most important market.
This deal will not preserve Freedom of Movement, so on December 31st 2020 UK citizens will lose the right to live, study, and work in 31 European countries, a right which the overwhelming majority of young people in the UK support. Freedom of Movement is a right we should celebrate and seek to restore.
We believe that this trade deal marks the beginning of many years of hard work to rebuild the relationship between the UK and our friends in the EU, a relationship that has been so badly strained by the blustering arrogance, ineptitude and antagonism that characterises Boris Johnson’s government.
Debate about the UK’s place in Europe will not end on 31st December 2020, it’s far too important for that. Cambridge for Europe will continue to campaign for a closer and deeper relationship between the UK and the EU, and we hope that in the future the young people of the UK will bring us back into the EU.”
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