Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

16 SEP 2016

Leading MEP warns against a simplistic 'tearing out' of Britain from the EU Single Market

Leading MEP warns against a simplistic 'tearing out' of Britain from the EU Single Market

Strasbourg, 15th September 2016 - Tearing the UK from the Single Market - as advocated by some politicians in the UK and European Commission President Juncker - will hit jobs in Britain and the EU, according to British Conservative Vicky Ford MEP, the Chairman of the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee.

She has hit out at the 'overly simplistic' arguments being deployed on both sides, saying that it would take 'a good decade' to unravel the complex manufacturing supply chains that have been built across the EU's Single Market, if the UK were to leave, creating enormous uncertainty across the EU.

President Juncker has pushed for the UK to activate Article 50 as soon as possible, so that the legal process of divorce can begin as swiftly as possible, but Mrs Ford says the practical work for businesses will take far longer. She confronted President Juncker in the chamber.

She said:

"We need to get away from these overly simplistic arguments that Single Market access can either just happen outside of the EU without a new agreement, or that we can have no access without unfettered free movement. The reality is far more complex.

"From its post-war beginnings the EU has bound together manufacturing and industrial capabilities. Unravelling these meshed supply chains could take a good decade and the uncertainty risks being extremely painful on both sides of the Channel.

"It is not enough to keep saying that Germans will want to sell us cars and Europe will want to buy whisky - there are real practical issues that need to be worked out. At the moment one can move everything from lettuces to laptops between the UK and Europe on a common set of rules, but products coming from outside the EU face thousands of pages of different customs regulations. Changing from one regime to the other needs to be properly planned or risks severe disruption especially to the high value manufacturing industries which rely on supply chains moving parts right across the Single Market.

"In Harlow there is a factory that literally makes the nuts and bolts to hold on an Airbus wing. If there are production delays or added costs then airlines will just buy planes from Boeing, putting thousands of jobs across Britain and Europe at risk.

"Picking the Norwegian, Swiss or even Canadian model off the shelf is not going to work for the future EU/UK relationship. The former means the UK has no final say in the rules that affect our manufacturers, the latter is such a weak cooperation agreement that there's no guarantee that our manufacturers would even be consulted."

"Jean-Claude Juncker and some British politicians are risking British and European jobs with this overly simplistic approach to the EU Single Market. If we tear the UK out of the Single Market without a clear road map in place then there will be serious negative consequences for both sides, and possibly in the long term there would be even worse consequences for European manufacturers than for those in the UK. We need to take time to get this right."

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My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.