This week in Europe: 17-20 December…

EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement signed

Catherine Bearder, the Liberal Democrat European spokesperson on international trade, has welcomed the EU trade deal with Singapore as a potential gateway for the UK’s insurance and banking sector into the Asian market.

This free trade deal with Singapore will bring huge benefits to the UK’s financial services sector in particular. Negotiating as a block of 27 countries with the biggest single market in the world has given Brussels the necessary weight to insist that European banks will enjoy a level playing field with US competitors. Britain on its own would have struggled to achieve such a great result. The deal is also a benchmark in promoting green growth as it will simplify trade and investment in environmental technologies.

The Agreement with Singapore follows in the steps of the successful EU-South Korea FTA which came into force in July 2011. Negotiations on a FTA between the EU and Japan were given the green light last month.

Latvia continues progress towards joining Euro

In an interview with Reuters, Latvian Finance Minister, Andris Vilks, said that his country would ask for a European Commission assessment of its euro readiness in February, the start of the membership process, meaning that EU leaders might vote on their accession to the Euro as early as June.

Blow for eurosceptic ‘Britzerland’ solution

The EU’s 27 Member States yesterday expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the bloc’s relationship with Switzerland calling on the country to enter into a mutual arrangement similar to the Norwegian model. Every two years, the Council assesses its relations with the four countries countries that are part of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). This year Member States declared the Swiss option as completely unsatisfactory.

Swiss participation in the single market has stalled for years as EU Member States demand a new Norway type arrangement of automatically adopting nearly all EU laws without having any say on their creation.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats in Europe, Fiona Hall MEP, commented on the Council’s report:

The ‘Swiss option’ is dead. Europhobes must get real – there is no Britzerland solution on the table for the UK. The EU is refusing to allow Switzerland further integration into the EU single market in lucrative sectors like energy unless it gives up the complex system of bilateral agreements which govern EU-Swiss relations. In any case – Switzerland’s model is not an example that the UK should aspire to. Switzerland has access to only 60-70% of the EU’s internal market, and misses out completely on agricultural products and most service industries. This includes financial services where the UK has a £17.6 billion trade surplus with the EU. In exchange, the Swiss have to adopt many EU laws and rules without having any say.

Britzerland is cloud cuckoo land, no more real than a chocolate Santa.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.
Advert

One Comment

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 30th Apr - 9:23pm
    I wonder if you would indulge me as a long suffering fan of Huddersfield Town ("We won the League three times, We won the FA...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 30th Apr - 8:55pm
    One of the regular common dodges of third party letting agents is to hang on to the tenant's deposit (often several hundred pounds) on the...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 30th Apr - 8:46pm
    For balance there are bad tenants and good landlords. In many cases a rental property is a big chunk of a pension plan and rent...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 30th Apr - 8:19pm
    Racism is a touchstone issue for me. Back when I was recruiting people as council candidates, I always included a question to ascertain their views...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 30th Apr - 7:52pm
    The airstrike on the hospital seems deliberate. We still need to maintain a bit of caution though. The regime has anti-aircraft weapons and plenty of...
  • User AvatarJane 30th Apr - 7:51pm
    @alex Macfie - just because the democratic culture of lobbying goes on at the EU doesn't mean to say we have to suffer it here....