What are the consequences of the European Union? – EURACTIV.fr

What are the consequences of the European Union?  – EURACTIV.fr

The heavyweights of the British Conservative Party like to say their members have “The World’s Most Sophisticated Voters”. It is certainly one of the peculiarities of British democracy that only 150,000 members of the Tory Party can elect Prime Ministers.

Unlike 2019, when Boris Johnson was always the favorite to win the support of the party faithful, there is no clear favorite this time around.

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak is gaining more support among the public and Tory MPs. Foreign Minister Liz Truss currently has a small head start among Conservative Party members.

After a slow start to the campaign, Liz Truss regained support as other candidates on the party’s right were sidelined, following a coordinated campaign by her allies in the right-wing media aimed at undermining her rival, Penny Mordon.

Pundits and party members are expecting a bitter and personal campaign full of dirty tricks.

Mr. Sunak accused Ms. Truss of running a practice “Fairy Tale Economy” She promised tax cuts and referred to her past as a member of the pro-European Liberal Democrat Party.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss attacked Mr Sunak’s privileged upbringing and called him a socialist for raising taxes to reduce the budget deficit created by Covid-19-related spending.

Sunak’s leadership prospects were almost destroyed by revelations that his wife had applied for non-resident tax status to avoid paying UK tax despite being finance minister. So expect Miss Truss’ team to capitalize on this situation in the coming weeks.

The Brexit referendum remains a fundamental dividing line in British politics, particularly within the Conservative Party.

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Mr Sunak campaigned for Brexit, while Ms Truss has always been tight-lipped on the issue but was in favor of keeping the country in the EU. Yet it was she who won the support of the European Research Group (ERG), the most staunchly Eurosceptic group of Eurosceptic Conservative parliamentarians.

After three years of Mr Johnson’s government, the question is what either of the two candidates will mean for the EU-UK relationship. These relations were weakened first by the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and then by a series of disputes over the implementation of the new trade agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom and the Protocol on Northern Ireland.

In terms of concrete steps, neither Ms Truss nor Mr Suna seem keen to bring the UK closer to Brussels.

Ms Truss has kept tabs on the Tory leadership race for much of the year, and observers believe it is part of her work behind a bill to repeal the Northern Ireland protocol, which is currently being debated in the British parliament. The protocol bill is popular among Brexit supporters and is almost certain to pass in the fall.

Moreover, Mrs Truss, once prime minister, must return the favor and appease her supporters, the ERB and the conservative right.

From 2016, Ms Truss quickly became a staunch supporter of Brexit, and as Secretary of State for International Trade between 2019 and 2021, she was responsible for negotiating the transfer of EU trade agreements with third parties to UK law.

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Having done most of the work on UK trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, she is likely to prioritize dealing with the US and Pacific Rim states. Mr Johnson’s ‘Global Britain’ plan, whose political significance has never matched his rhetoric, will be revived under Mrs Truss’s presidency.

However, it is Mr Sunak who appears to be concerned that the initial policy promises could take the UK further away from the EU.

He has vowed to reform all remaining EU laws that impose unnecessary red tape and hamper business by the next general election. In fact, these regulations are unlikely to burn alive.

In fact, defining what is unnecessary – REACH regulation on chemicals imposes an administrative burden but is essential for the protection of human health, for example – is a difficult task, and in each case it is necessary to mobilize trade unions, business leaders or workers. Both.

It helps to explain that such sweeping deregulation was a promise made and then quietly abandoned by three successive Conservative prime ministers.

More likely to be kept is Sunac’s promise to avoid financial services regulations passed by the European Union in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. The aim is to initiate economic sector growth similar to that observed in the 1980s. ” big Bang “ Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of government.

The United Kingdom comes a close second “Singapore of the North Sea”As many Brexit supporters have always wanted.

At the same time, his promise to abandon the UK’s membership of the EU data protection regime, GDPR, is likely to overturn the “adequacy agreement” that allows the continued flow of data between the UK and the EU in favor of a less restrictive regime. .

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The relationship between Brussels and London has been characterized by a lack of trust, often stemming from Mr Johnson’s ability to undo or simply abandon agreements.

His successor will not bring the UK closer to the EU on policy – ​​only a change of government can – but the tone, trust and good faith will be stronger under new leadership.

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