What is the EU so afraid of? Brussels chiefs’ deep panic over own system exposed by expert

German ambassador: Single market 'more important' than Brexit

Dominic Walsh, a research fellow at the Policy Exchange think tank, outlined his thoughts in a series of tweets today. He said: “Something that’s really struck me in the Brexit negotiations this year is the surprisingly fragile confidence the EU seem to have in the competitive advantage conferred by the single market.

“The single market is the most comprehensive trade area in the world. It includes considerable regulatory alignment on products and services, free movement of people etc.

“Yet the EU seems to think that a mere FTA would allow post-Brexit UK to out-compete that single market.”

Mr Walsh characterised the EU’s position as being that unless a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was accompanied by “extremely onerous level-playing field provisions” then it was not worth doing, because of the perceived threat it would pose.

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He added: “But if you voted Remain (as I did), the idea that a mere FTA with, say, enforceable non-regression clauses rather than ‘dynamic alignment by the back door’ is going to give post-Brexit Britain a competitive trading advantage over the single market is quite a strange one…

“I mean, whatever happened to “non-tariff barriers are more important than tariffs”? Even with an FTA, the UK will face customs and regulatory barriers, no free movement and rules of origin.

“Hardly a menu for out-competing the Single Market, you’d think, even with more freedom on Level Playing Field. So what’s going on here?

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“Perhaps, ironically, the EU actually rates the UK’s chances of ‘making a success of Brexit’ by out-competing them quite highly.

“Despite the clear absence of any desire in the UK for a so-called ‘Singapore on Thames’ model.”

Meanwhile, a Tory MP has likewise claimed Brussels’ insistence that Britain sticks closely to its rules and regulations showed it was “petrified” of a competitive state on its doorstep.

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Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, told Express.co.uk: “The EU officials are clearly so lacking in confidence in their own regulatory and taxation framework that rather than allow a British regulatory system to compete in their neighbourhood, they want to force us to be part of their laws and regulations.

“Now most people in business or any other walk of life who are confident in their own policies welcome competition.

“It is what constantly ensures that best practices are reviewed, updated and all the rest of it.

“So most people benefit from that but not the European Union, and that is why they want to shackle us to their regulatory framework.

“They are petrified of the United Kingdom outperforming them.

“Britain already today, having complied with EU regulations, attracts a hugely disproportionate amount of trade compared with many other European countries.

“Now, on top of that, making our own rules, we could even significantly expand on that and that is what they are afraid of.

“What they have done is dictate almost vassal state agreements with their other neighbours – Turkey I believe is a member of the customs union but it has no say whatsoever over any rules and regulations that affect its own engagement in the global market.

“But we are not prepared to do that.”

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