Dear members and friends,
The Tories have bowed to all EU demands.
• The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget.
• The UK will continue to accept all EU rules including Freedom of Movement.
• The UK will have no say on the rules.
Legal uncertainty for UK businesses will continue until an agreement is signed and ratified – likely in 2019 (provided an agreement is reached).
The border with Northern Ireland is still unresolved. The agreement says Northern Ireland will stay under EU law and in the Single Market and Customs Union unless another solution can be found (which seems doubtful). This is despite May insisting previously that no British prime minister could sign up to a text that could “threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea”. The solution is of course, for all of the UK to stay in the Customs Union and Single market.
So, the Tories have essentially ‘kicked the can down the road’. They have no clear position or solutions, so they are delaying any decision making on the big issues.
US steel tariffs
Trump’s threat to impose tariffs of 25% on imports of steel could mean real trouble for Tata Steel which employs 3500 in Neath Port Talbot, 1250 in Llanwern and Newport, 600 in Trostre and 200 in Caerphilly. Around 10% of Welsh steel exports go to the US.
I have held a number of meetings to support EU-wide actions on tariffs and to discuss concerns about the dumping of more steel in the EU.
The EU has been played a key role in promoting the economic development of Northern Ireland via financial support for the PEACE programme and through funding community projects and infrastructure in economically disadvantaged areas.
I am currently working on a report on the impact of EU cohesion policy there and I will lead a fact-funding mission this week to see projects on the ground and speak to locals about what having those programmes taken away would mean for them.