The U.K.’s prime minister, Theresa May, looked to calm the upheaval surrounding Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union with a speech outlining her plans for the future.
May expressed hope that Britain’s exit would be as smooth and clean as possible.
At the head of negotiations for her country’s withdrawal, May used her speech as an opportunity to outline her broad goals moving forward, although she left some of the details still uncertain.
May’s goals for Britain include retaking autonomous control of immigration issues and leaving the European Court of Justice.
These intentions are directly at odds with the founding principles of the EU. At the outset, the EU sought to foster the free movement of people, goods and capital between European nations.
This system of open borders is regulated by the ECJ. Now, outside the control of the EU, Britain is able to restrict the free movement of goods and people through its borders.
In her speech, May outlined her goals for the upcoming negotiations, naming twelve major objectives.
The first objective she addressed was certainty in the negotiation process.
Although entering negotiations is inherently unpredictable, and compromise is inevitable, May promised steadfastness to the British public. She assured her countrymen that laws which applied before Brexit will remain unchanged.
Related to the first objective, May insisted that Britain should have the authority to maintain control over her own laws. Without greater independence, the “Brexit” would be counterproductive.
Leaving the European Union will allow Britain to take a more in-depth look inward, allowing for greater focus on domestic issues, she asserted.
This encompasses May’s third objective: to strengthen the bonds between the four nations comprising the United Kingdom. Unity between these nations is especially important, as all these countries have joint interests.
May’s fifth objective addressed controlling immigration to Britain from Europe. While stating that immigration is beneficial, bringing together a diversity of interests and talents, May has pointed out that greater control will ensure that immigration remains in the best interests of the country.
As for serving the interests of individuals, May designed her sixth objective to ensure that both British citizens living in EU nations and citizens of EU nations living in Britain are each guaranteed their rights.
Expanding upon the theme of rights, the seventh objective encompasses protecting the rights of workers.
In order to maintain this protection, May seeks to integrate the same guarantees set out by the European Union into Britain’s own domestic regulations.
May’s eighth objective is aimed at establishing a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Thus, Britain is seeking to continue a trade relationship that allows the free movement of goods, services and people between nations.
However, by withdrawing from the EU’s Single Market, the U.K. will be free from the rules and regulations that system sets forward.
May sees withdrawal from the Single Market as another move of pivotal importance. Since the U.K. no longer has a say in the rules and regulations set forth in the Single Market, Britain’s prime minister believes leaving the EU necessitates an exit from the Single Market as well.
While still seeking to maintain healthy trade relationships with other member nations of the EU, the U.K. is also looking to develop more extensive trade relationships with other nations. In fact, this was one of the motivations for the “Brexit.”
May’s ninth objective is focused on this expanded trade. The prime minster points out that the GDP of the U.K. stagnated since joining the EU.
While the exchange of goods and services has been an issue at the forefront of debate, the exchange of ideas is addressed in May’s tenth objective, in which she expressed concern for expanding the nation’s potential for innovation.
This is another area in which the U.K. would like to maintain its relations with other nations of the EU. May has stated that the U.K. is still interested in collaborating with these countries in scientific and technological research.
Another area of continued collaboration May also emphasized was presenting a united front against terrorism. It is a universal threat and so, May pointed out, there should also be a universal response.
May’s last objective just reiterated her hopes for as smooth a transition as possible during the “Brexit.”
Britain was a member of the EU for more than four decades, which fostered close relations between member nations. The country’s “Brexit” will loosen these established ties, making May’s negotiations important for laying the groundwork for Britain’s relations with other European nations in the future.
The British prime minister may face difficulties both from without and within.
While the primary focus has been on difficulties the U.K. will face negotiating with other nations, internal friction is posing further problems.
Britons in Scotland, Wales and Northern Island are opposing the referendum. With a variety of internal and external contentions, future negotiations between the U.K. and the EU will likely be rocky.