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Brexit: PM Sunak Rules Out Swiss-Like EU Deal

    Brexit: PM Sunak Rules Out Swiss-Like EU Deal
    Last updated: 1 week ago
    Image credit: AP [via Market Watch]

    Facts

    • Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in Birmingham, England on Monday, UK PM Rishi Sunak denied reports that his government was pursuing a Swiss-style post-Brexit agreement with the EU. [1]
    • A report in the Sunday Times claimed Sunak was seeking something similar to Switzerland, which has access to the EU single market and removal of checks on many goods but is part of the Schengen common travel area and pays into the bloc's funds. [2]
    • No. 10 said Sunak was "categorical" that the Brexit deal wouldn't change, with a spokesperson for the PM saying there would be no reintroduction of freedom of movement and no "unnecessary" payments to the EU. They added that "nothing that limits the UK's freedom to do trade deals" would be agreed to. [3]
    • The director general of the CBI, Tony Danker, said he agreed with Sunak's willingness to hear suggestions from businesses on regulatory changes, but added that he believes the UK should expand firms' abilities to hire workers from abroad. Sunak reportedly dodged questions on that topic. [4]
    • Though the UK's exit from the EU has hindered foreign workers' ability to seek employment in Britain, Sunak asserted in his speech that Brexit gave his country "proper control of [its] borders," saying: "We weren't able to do that inside the European Union." [2]
    • The remarks come amid a long-running debate over the Northern Ireland Protocol, a post-Brexit agreement to avoid the imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland. Unionists argue that a hard border located in the Irish Sea impedes trade between Northern Ireland and the UK. [5]
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    Spin

    Right narrative

    While Sunak's supposedly pro-Brexit, conservative government continues to preach about the need for more international trade to boost the economy, it is ignoring the obvious solution of lowering taxes for regular Britons to stimulate economic growth. The current high tax regime is stifling an economy already facing tariffs from the EU so, if the PM isn't considering a Swiss-style agreement to resolve issues in the treasury, he should try prescribing some affordable domestic remedies.

    Left narrative

    Despite tangible evidence of Brexit's failure and the fact that a majority of Britons have shown disapproval for the secession, Sunak's Conservative Party continues to tout their prized 2016 referendum as a success. While Sweden enjoys access to its partnership with the EU and the consequent economic benefits, the UK has raised taxes on its people and simultaneously become the only G7 nation with a smaller economy than before the pandemic. The Brexit reality is already biting Sunak's administration.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 13% chance that the British pound will trade below $1 before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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