David Davis' speech to the Suddeutsche Zeitung Economic Summit

Department for Exiting the European Union

November 16
21:40 2017

Thank you for inviting me to speak here tonight.

Its a privilege to be here, at Berlins Museum of Communication, to talk to you about how the United Kingdom is approaching talks to leave the European Union.

Im not here tonight to give you a blow-by-blow account of the Brexit negotiations.

Im sure have already got that from the pages of Suddeutsche Zeitung already.

And Im sure Ill be answering questions about that once weve finished.

Just to say we have made a great deal of progress in the negotiations to date far more than is understood by most people.

Ive come to talk about the future for Europe these talks will create and their importance to generations to come.

Earlier this evening I spent a little time walking around this incredible museum.

To see the evolution of technology that has made our world closer and more interconnected than ever before.

Put simply, what I believe is this:

In that more interconnected world, its more important than ever that the United Kingdom and Germany work together to protect the values and interests that we share.

Values that define our relationship, and are more important than our membership of particular institutions.

Values of democracy.

Of the rule of law.

Of human rights.

Of economic liberalism.

And of freedom.

These are the values that will guide the new partnership we want with the European Union.

Shared interests

I know that the UK and Germany came to the EU from different starting points.

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.

The UKs experience is different.

For us the European Union and the European Economic Community before it was primarily an economic endeavour.

One that bolstered trade but which always provoked public debate about the political integrity of sovereign states.

Now his isnt to say that one is right and the other is wrong.

Indeed they are linked.

Trade and peace have always been mutually beneficial objectives.

But simply we have always viewed the Union differently.

Germany was a founder member. We chose not to be.

Germany was a founder of the euro. Again, we stayed out.

It also doesnt mean that we do not see the value in the wider political project for Europe.

There cannot be any doubt that we want to see the European Union succeed and flourish.

Its in both of our interests.

And while the British people have had their say, and we have decided to leave the institutions of the European Union.

Brexit does not and will not mean the end of our relationship with the EU or indeed with Germany.

Or that trade between the UK and Germany should reduce.

Neither does it undermine, or reduce, our unwavering commitment to Europes security.

I believe, with determination from both sides, the opposite can be true.

So we need to create the right structures for after our European Union exit that will enable our partnership to thrive.

We will always - always - stand up to the shared threats our continent faces and cooperate on the security of Europe.

And the close economic ties that we both benefit from should continue, if not strengthen, in the years to come.

The weight of evidence requires it.

Bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Germany is worth a total of 176 billion euros a year.

Spanning the entire economy.

And thats more than a thousand euros to every man, woman, and child in both our countries.

In 2015, two billion euros worth of German aviation exports were sold in Britains markets.

In the same year 8.5 billion of chemical and rubber exports went to the UK.

And 29 billion of automotive exports, from your biggest manufacturers BMW, Mercedes and the like, end up on British roads.

That translates to roughly one in three cars sold in Britain thats 810,000 cars coming from Germany.

For our part, Germany is the UKs second biggest trading partner - receiving 9% of our exports and were your fourth biggest investor.

Meanwhile 220,000 Germans work for the 1,200 British companies in Germany.

That trade creates jobs.

It boosts prosperity.

And it creates wealth not just in Britain, not just in Germany, but across the entire continent.

I have twice served on the boards of FTSE100 businesses and Ive seen it myself first hand.

In the face of those facts I know that no one would allow short-term interests to risk those hard-earned gains.

Because putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice.

Two months ago, our Prime Minister Theresa May explained a bold ambition for the form of our future relationship.

One that ensures these links with our friends and partners, such as Germany, are maintained and indeed, strengthened.

It goes beyond just wanting a positive outcome to the negotiations.

Because fundamentally, it is about the kind of country that the UK wants to be, after we leave the European Union.

I recognise that, since the referendum last year, some in the European Union have had their doubts about what kind of country we are or indeed what we stand for.

Now if you want to know the mind of a nation all one must do is read its press.

So with that in mind I looked through some copies of Suddeutsche Zeitung.

I read that Britain wants to isolate itself, that we are short-sighted islanders, or at least thats how I translated Inselbewohner.

Well Im afraid I have to disagree.

We are the same country we have always been.

With the same values and same principles we have always had.

A country upon which our partners can rely.

The sixth largest economy in the world and a beacon for free trade across the globe.

And when it comes to trade as we forge a new path for Britain outside the European Union I believe we can be its boldest advocate.

Continued security cooperation

Being a country that our partners rely on also means the United Kingdom continuing to play its part in maintaining the security of the continent.

From mass migration to terrorism, there are countless issues which pose challenges to our shared European interests and values that we can only solve in partnership.

Thats why we have already set out our ambition for continued partnership in areas such as security, defence, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism.

Drawing on the full weight of our military, intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement and development resources to lead action both inside and outside Europe.

Hand in hand with our closest allies and partners our determination to defend the stability, security and prosperity of the European continent remains steadfast.

Because the threats that European people face are the same, whether they are attending a pop concert in Manchester, Christmas markets in Berlin or simply using public transport in Brussels, Madrid or London.

Britain always has and always will stand with its friends and allies in defence of those values that we share.

And, of course, the United Kingdom always has been and always will be a country which honours its international commitments and obligations.

This is more than just rhetoric.

If we spent the European Union average on defence and international development, and other foreign affairs, wed spend 22 billion pounds a year less than we currently do.

Thats money that demonstrates how seriously we take our role on the world stage and its money that well continue to spend in our mutual interest.

Future economic partnership

Because of our shared values and shared history, were ambitious and optimistic about our future partnership with the European Union.

Of course, life will be different. We recognise that we cant leave the European Union and have everything stay the same.

And as we leave, we will be leaving the single market and the customs union.

This is not an ideologically driven decision but a practicality based on what our people voted for and the respect we have for the four freedoms of the EU.

Its clear that the British people voted to have greater control.

Greater control over our borders.

Greater control over our laws.

And a greater say over the United Kingdoms destiny in the world.

Now as we look to the future, we understand that the single markets four freedoms are indivisible.

And that it is built on a balance of rights and obligations.

So we dont pretend that you can have all the benefits of membership of the single market without its obligations.

However, we are seeking a new framework that allows for a close economic partnership but that holds those rights and obligations in a new and different balance.

That recognises both our unique starting point and our trusted, historic relationship.

We will be a third country partner like no other.

Much closer than Canada, much bigger than Norway, and uniquely integrated on everything from energy networks to services.

The key pillar of this will be a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement the scope of which should beyond any the European Union has agreed before.

One that allows for a close economic partnership while holding the UKs rights and obligations in a new and different balance.

It should, amongst other things, cover goods, agri

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