Written evidence submitted by Michael Starling (FRE0060)
The starting point of my submission is the promise made during the leave campaign and senior members of the current government that we would have “exactly the same benefits” if we left the European Union as if we were to remain. Achieving “exactly the same benefits” must be the central theme in all negotiations.
It is also important to stress that “exactly the same benefits” did not apply only to trade but to all aspects of membership of the European Union.
There are two key benefits that I wish to raise that should be central to the negotiations, freedom of movement and participation in European research. Both have been extremely beneficial to both individuals and companies.
Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement, to be able to study, work, live, love, and retire across most of Europe, is a cherished freedom for millions in the UK. Many have already exercised their freedoms, some were planning to do so, and some have not yet realised the significance of these freedoms being taken away. Many have had these freedoms all their lives.
In negotiation the UK Government needs to hold to its promise of “exactly the same benefits” and strive for an agreement that would do so. Some form of associate membership of the EU for individuals could be a mechanism for this.
There is a saying that “the industries of tomorrow are in the universities of today” and the whole viability of the UK depends on getting research out of universities and developing it into world-beating industries. European research, such as the Horizon programmes, is a vital part of this. British institutions and companies have been in the forefront of European funded research and it is vital that this continues.
In negotiation the UK Government needs to strive for an agreement that will retain maximum involvements in these programmes.