COBCOE responds to Theresa May's speech

The British Prime Minister has today set out her vision for the future economic partnership between the UK and EU. In her speech, Mrs May expressed her desire to look beyond precedents and find a new balance. She explained five tests for a bespoke agreement, addressed several "hard facts" and set out five foundations for the future partnership:
  1. Reciprocal commitments to ensure fair and open competition
  2. An independent arbitration system 
  3. An ongoing dialogue between the UK and EU to ensure regular consultations
  4. Data protection – an ongoing role for the UK's Information Commissioner's Office to ensure UK businesses are effectively represented under the EU's new 'one stop shop' mechanism.
  5. Links between people so that businesses throughout the EU and UK can access the people they need
The full speech can be viewed at
David Thomas, COBCOE Executive Chairman, said that although the progress being made was welcome,  he questioned whether it was fast enough. "The transition is critical, but we need clarity on what we are transitioning to" he said.
The possibility of a third alternative to the question of the Irish border needs to be taken seriously, and COBCOE welcomes news of the UK and Irish Governments working together on this. 
"While it is logical for neither the European Court of Justice, nor a UK court to act as arbiter, we believe that this could become a sticking point in negotiations" said David Thomas. 
"It is obvious that there will be costs, but the key issue is proof of the benefits for both Europe, within and outside the EU, from these proposals for a bespoke deal. The Prime Minister is hoping for full cooperation from European Commission negotiators do develop this deal and we also hope that the European Commission will focus on the benefits to the region as a whole" said David Thomas, concluding "The focus of the Prime Minister's argument and communications must now turn to the EU27 governments."
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