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.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/32308 for Twitter and emails.

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.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

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




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 25th Apr - 2:41am
    Matthew, I think we need to remember that in Gladstone's day the British East-India company was the largest global corporation in history, accounting for half...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 25th Apr - 12:40am
    @jedibeeftrix. Have you really descended to this? Your comments always used to be interesting and challenging!
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 25th Apr - 12:37am
    There'll always be crises. It's a fact of life. Politics is the art of managing them and learning from them, and learning is what is...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 25th Apr - 12:23am
    Matthew Huntbach, If you read very carefully, you will find that Alex Marsh did not write a "flood of propaganda which insists that the pre-merger...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 25th Apr - 12:06am
    the article, and the degree of division in the comments makes me lol. but at least the division represents a degree of sanity returning to...
  • User AvatarRay 24th Apr - 11:54pm
    There should be no bullying down to the "normal and harmless" homosexuality.
Sat 26th Apr 2014
Tue 29th Apr 2014
Fri 2nd May 2014
Sat 3rd May 2014
Sat 10th May 2014