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What are the options for the UK and EU to reach a compromise over free movement and access to the single market?

23 June 2017

Theresa May’s ill-fated snap election seems to have transformed the UK’s national zeitgeist, not least in the public narrative over Brexit.

Much diminished is the focus on controlling migration and sovereignty and much more to the fore is a focus on safeguarding jobs and the economy. May’s erstwhile inexorable march toward the cliff of so-called “Hard Brexit” no longer seems unstoppable. And whilst, at least for the moment, there are few voices challenging the UK’s eventual departure from the EU, key political and business figures are openly advancing ways forward which involve transitional arrangements, continued membership of the Customs Union and, even, for some, continued membership of the Single Market recognising that compromises would be necessary over EU migration and the continued role of the European Court of Justice.

Here, we link to a report we published in January which explores how controlling free movement and continuing free trade between the UK and the EU might be reconciled and which set out some thoughts which, we would submit, are more relevant now than ever. We also link here to a flowchart we published soon after the referendum last year and track the progress since.

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The UK left the EU at 11pm (UK time) on 31 January 2020, and the transition period came to an end on 31 December 2020. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached on Christmas Eve 2020 sets out the shape of the ongoing future relationship between the UK and the EU and provides some degree of certainty for UK businesses.

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