This article was originally published on The Commentator
Recent weeks have seen the European Union’s foul play in the Brexit talks spiral out of control and descend into a vindictively malicious campaign against the United Kingdom.
Not only is this incredibly unbecoming behaviour from an organisation which purports to be a bastion of free trade and multilateral cooperation, but it also reveals a deeper dynamic at work: the EU is petrified of having post-Brexit Britain as a neighbour, and realises just how much Britain can eclipse the European Union in the future.
They know full well the potential the UK has once free of the EU’s unduly heavy handcuffs. We are a nation with a proud history of commercial entrepreneurial spirit. Our workforce enjoys enviable levels of education and experience, and is recognised as amongst the elite few in the world.
Moreover, there is a climate of business-friendly appreciation which is enforced by a system of common law shared by many other nations, and, of course, the international language is English.
Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will mean Britain can utilise these tools at its disposal to reclaim its stature as a globally engaged hub of trade and commerce, attracting the most exciting start-ups to its shores by crafting a favourable environment.
The fear has become evident by the manner in which Eurocrats have – seemingly successfully – politicised the issue of the Irish border. They present the only solution as Britain ‘Remaining’ within the Customs Union. Despite the fact that countless experts have come forward with technological solutions to the problems, the EU persistently seeks to corner Theresa May and force her to abandon her red lines made in the Lancaster House speech.
Why would they do this?
Because once we Leave the Customs Union, we are free to become the global, free-trading nation which has characterised British history. We can lower our tariffs, allowing us to establish relationships with nations across the world, bringing prosperity to both sides and entrenching a sense of mutual appreciation.
Trade is far more than mere buying and selling, it is about constructing relationships around the world and binding ties. This is precisely what the Brexit vote was about, and what the Prime Minister has made clear – building a Global Britain.
Furthermore, trade deals struck by Britain with other countries will undoubtedly have a heavier focus on financial services, garnering us much greater access to markets around the world, such as America. This sends shivers down the EU27’s collective spine.
A post-Brexit Britain with such trading arrangements would be extremely eye-catching for those corporations looking to establish a European headquarters, as well as acting as a pull factor for many further financial service providers on the continent.
Much like a jealous partner, the EU would rather keep us confined within their parameters, whilst they speak to others on our behalf.
The scaremongering does not end on the issue of Ireland. The EU has created a wilfully misrepresented image of Britain’s regulatory regime after we leave the Single Market, suggesting there would somehow be a “race to the bottom” on workers’ rights and environmental protections.
As Brexit Secretary David Davis pointed out in his Vienna speech, this bears no relation to the UK’s track record. Of courss standards in these areas will remain high. The public backlash if they were to be dropped would be political suicide and would topple any Government.
No. After Brexit, Britain will be able to ensure the EU’s stifling regulations which suffocate emerging industries will no longer be able to restrict our country’s economic prospects.
This will mean treating business not as a threat to be quashed, but as the prized possession it really is. The EU’s ‘precautionary principle’ means that if Eurocrats don’t understand something, they will use legal and regulatory means to smother it.
This is not the key to progress. And once Britain secures a clean Brexit, this will not be the course we will follow. Tech start-ups will flock to the UK in their droves, abandoning the enterprise-hostile environment the EU has sadly become.
The freedom to cut VAT, and tax rates, should we wish to do so, will only add to the allure. This is precisely what the EU is scared of — Britain once again being able to compete on the global stage.
Once we Get Britain Out of the EU the Great British Public will be in control. Few would doubt just how much we can accomplish once we are allowed to chart our own course.
The EU chiefs are petrified of this, and are doing all they can to stop it.
Robert Bates is a Research Executive at cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out