Press release

A 'new, positive and constructive' partnership with the European Union

The government has published its plan for 'a new, positive and constructive' partnership in the mutual interest of the UK and the EU.

The government has today published its plan for ‘a new, positive and constructive’ partnership in the mutual interest of the UK and the EU, with a White Paper presented to Parliament.

The document, entitled ‘The United Kingdom’s Exit from, and New Partnership with, the European Union’, mirrors the 12 principles set out by the Prime Minister to guide EU exit negotiations in her speech at Lancaster House on 17 January.

These include providing certainty and clarity wherever possible, ensuring free trade with European markets, controlling immigration and taking control of our own laws.

The paper highlights the mutual interest to the UK and the EU of maintaining the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods and services following UK exit.

It notes that in 2015, the UK exported £230 billion worth of goods and services to the EU, while importing £290 billion worth of goods and services from the EU.

It will be in the interests of both sides to build a new strategic partnership, with an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement and a new customs agreement, the document says.

The position the UK and EU will start from, with a common regulatory framework with the European Single Market, is unprecedented.

It is not about bringing 2 divergent systems together, but finding the best way for the benefits of the common systems and frameworks that currently enable UK and EU businesses to trade with and operate in each others’ markets to continue when we leave the EU.

The paper also recognises the importance of delivering a smooth, mutually beneficial exit, avoiding a disruptive cliff-edge.

So a phased process of implementation of new arrangements — whether relating to immigration controls, customs systems, co-operation on criminal and civil justice matters, or future regulatory and legal frameworks for business — will be in our mutual self interest.

The White Paper notes that the time needed to phase in new arrangements in different areas may vary.

The document also confirms plans for a separate White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill, which will ensure certainty and stability by transposing EU law into UK law, wherever practical and appropriate, and separate legislation in areas likely to be affected by the outcome of the negotiation, such as customs and immigration.

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said:

The White Paper confirms the Prime Minister’s vision of an independent, truly global UK and an ambitious future relationship with the EU.

This is based on the 12 principles that will guide the government in fulfilling the democratic will of the people of the UK.

These 12 objectives amount to 1 goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union, that works in our mutual interest.

It is in the UK’s interest for the EU to succeed politically and economically. And so we approach the negotiation to come in a spirit of goodwill and working to an outcome in our mutual benefit.