Part III. BREXIT
30 Apr, 2019 13:23
source: 香港奇点财经 Singularity Financial
Singularity Financial: In relation to Brexit, through the past months of wrestling between dramatic sentiments and rationality, what will be the final result you foresee?
Christian Noyer: One important thing that everyone has to understand: nobody in the EU wanted the UK to leave. This was what President Macron has repeated and again. We would like to keep the the Great Britain in the EU, and yes, we are still ready to welcome them back absolutely. But we have to respect the willingness of the UK people.
Then the issue for the rest of Europe is, because the country is strongly divided on this in the UK, it’s taking so much of the European agenda that it creates difficulties to move ahead on where we should be continuing to build new things. So we would like to see and respect whatever this choice is, after they make a choice.
The second thing is, we want to protect the EU and the way how EU works. So there are principles you may choose. We have offered the UK to choose between several scenarios. If they want to remain in the single market while being out, then there is the so called “Norwegian Way”. If this is not an option or not acceptable in the UK, which has been the sentiment so far, then the second possibility is to be out of the single market, but to remain in the customs union, which means, for the trade of goods, and the relationship with the WTO, the UK will be included in the European customs union. The latter is supported by members of parliament in the UK. I mean, I think the proposal in this direction made by Ken Clark, former Conservative Chancellor, was close to win a majority in the House of Commons. So that’s a deal on the table.
Thirdly, we have to understand that this issue and deal, in our view, is very important to protect peace in Ireland. We know that the so called “Good Friday Agreement” which enabled peace by stopping internal violence that existed before was linked (to the EU). This was probably not very well understood in the UK. One has to understand this enough at the turn of the referendum. Peace was permitted and maintained by the single market, so the EU was one of the basis for peace coming back in Ireland. And if you destroy this single market, there is a risk again, and that’s a risk that nobody would like to take.
Singularity Financial: Has this been articulated clearly to Theresa May and her Cabinet?
Christian Noyer: I think she understands this, and that is why in the agreement, she accepted that until we find another way to obtain the same result, Northern Ireland at least would remain as a part of the single market. And of course, they should have thought well before and see there was a real difficulty there, which was not all explained to the general public.
So we’ll see where we go while hoping that in the end, one of those solutions will be accepted and that we can embark into a deal. Otherwise, if everything is refused, there is no other way than for the UK to leave without a deal, which would be of course negative for everybody, but much more for the UK, than for the rest. I think the risk for the British economy will appear extremely high.
With this uncertainty about the future of the relationship between the UK and the EU, last year, the investment in the UK automotive industry fell by 40%. While so far consumption in the UK is still relatively stronge, as the integration of the UK with the EU is still existing, investments are already not very positive, I hope that will help make a good decision in the United Kingdom.