22nd Mar 2018

Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin

  • Davis: "Putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice" (Photo: European Commission)

Britain has called for a unique trade deal with the EU after it leaves the bloc, but declined to say how much it would pay for the divorce.

David Davis, the UK's Brexit negotiator, detailed its ideas at a business forum in Berlin on Thursday (16 November).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Davis also made much of Germany's need to keep selling cars to the UK (Photo: Dave Pinter)

He was mocked on social media for a remark which seemed more apt for British eurosceptics, such as himself, than for his audience.

"Putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice," he said.

With British tabloids full of anti-EU and anti-immigrant stories, he laid himself open to more laughter when he tried to dispel concern "about what kind of country we are or indeed what we stand for."

"If you want to know the mind of a nation, all one must do is read its press," he said.

When the editor of German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Wolfgang Krach, who hosted the Berlin event, later said "your government gives off an impression of chaos and disorder", the audience burst into applause.

"Every government has periods of turbulence," Davis replied.

When asked how much Britain was willing to pay to honour its past EU budget commitments, a key sticking point in Brexit talks, he said that decision would be made "later on".

"Wait for another few weeks before I answer that," he said.

His speech gave details on other aspects of Britain's vision for post-EU relations, however.

UK vision

He said the UK wanted a transition period of "about two years" after it left the EU in March 2019 in which everything would stay the same.

That would mean "keeping … the role of the European Court of Justice" and "staying in all the EU regulators and agencies", he said.

He said that the future EU trade deal should make the UK "a third country partner like no other" in a "deep and comprehensive free trade agreement - the scope of which should be beyond any the European Union has agreed before."

Future UK-EU relations should be "much closer than Canada, much bigger than Norway", he said.

The EU and Canada recently concluded a limited free-trade pact. Norway has full access to the single market in return for applying EU law.

Davis said the future EU trade deal should include "tariff-free access across the board" for "goods, agriculture, and services, including financial services … transportation, energy, and data".

He said it should include mutual recognition of regulatory standards on goods such as cars and pharmaceuticals.

He said it "must have an effective dispute resolution mechanism" that would be neither the UK courts nor the EU court.

He also said there should be mutual recognition of people's professional qualifications.

The UK would stop free movement for EU migrants, but he said it would "continue to welcome people, both from the EU and around the world, who want to work and contribute to our society".

Davis added that the UK and the EU shared basic values and voiced "unwavering commitment to Europe's security".

But he also said the UK and Germany had always "viewed the EU differently".

"For Germany, and others, the creation of the EU is still seen properly as a foundation for peace and stability, democracy and justice, across our continent … For us the European Union - and the European Economic Community before it - was primarily an economic endeavour," he said.

Swedish talks

Brexit talks will continue on the sidelines of an EU summit on social affairs in Sweden on Friday, where British leader Theresa May plans to hold informal meetings with EU Council head Donald Tusk and with her Irish and Swedish counterparts.

May wants EU leaders to start negotiations on the transition deal and on the future trade pact in December.

The UK needs the progress to stop businesses from relocating amid fears that there will be no deals in place by 2019.

But the EU and UK remain tens of billions of euros apart on the divorce bill, which the EU wants to agree, among other issues, before moving on.

Davis said it was "incredibly unlikely" that Brexit negotiations would fail.

When asked if he wanted to take May's job - a development that would increase the levels of "chaos and disorder" in the UK - he said: "No".

He said May was "very good" and that "she'll be there for the duration of the Brexit process and beyond."

"When the Brexit process comes to an end, I'll come to an end too. I won't be there. I have no ambitions beyond that," he said.

UK has 10 days to make Brexit progress

British prime minister Theresa May was told to make progress on the financial settlement, and Ireland, before talks can move to the next phase.


Avoiding a Brexit chemical reaction

The UK's €56 billion chemicals industry was at first hoping Brexit would lead to less regulations - now it is hoping it can still access the single market.

'Decisive step' in Brexit ahead of EU summit

The UK and the EU have reached a legal agreement on citizens' rights and the financial settlement, but with still little progress on the future of the Irish border.


No precedents for post-Brexit Irish border

Glib comparisons with the US-Canada border, or municipal boundaries within London, do not stand up to scrutiny - or the reality of an internal Irish border with 275 crossing points in a land beset by 30 years of armed conflict.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections