David Davis' Foundations of the Future Economic Partnership Speech


February 20
11:25 2018

Good morning.

Its a pleasure to be here in Vienna.

A city which, like Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and of course London, has earned its status as one of Europes truly global cities.

These are places which shape the nations in which they are situated.

And the ideas and values of those of us who are proud to call ourselves Europeans as well as being Austrian, French, German, Dutch or indeed British.

I suspect that nowhere is that more true than Vienna, which has a long history as a capital of ideas.

Indeed, I suspect that when the Vienna Circle gathered in the Cafe Central in this city, they produced more challenging ideas in a day than many universities do in a decade.

Ideas that form the intellectual basis of modern politics.

These global cities bring us together.

This week alone, in Londons great universities, students from across Europe will be taught the ideas of the Austrian School of Economics.

While your incredible Vienna State Opera will see a leading English soprano star in work by Handel, a Londoner born in Germany.

And just this morning tens of thousands of Austrians will go to work to earn a living from companies which are owned or headquartered in the United Kingdom.

These are the current, lived, shared experiences, and they point the way to a shared future which will continue after Brexit.

Now I know that since our Referendum much thought, throughout Europe, has gone into what Britains relationship with the European Union really means.

Whether a close partnership is really possible with a nation that, by the decision of its people, is leaving the structures designed to produce such a relationship.

And whether Britain is going to be the same country it has been in the past.




A bastion of Parliamentary democracy,

And a defender of liberty, and the rule of law.

Well, to cut to the chase we are.

We were before we joined the European Union, we are while we are members, and we will be after we have left.

And Im here to explain not just why we must continue to work together as the closest of partners and friends, but also how we should go about doing it.

We are currently negotiating the Implementation Period, a crucial bridge to our new partnership.

And next month we will start detailed discussions on exactly how our new relationship will look, which is why this tour of Europe is happening today.

But before we begin that process I believe there are two important principles which can help us point in the right direction.

The first is Britains determination to lead a race to the top in global standards.

The second is the principle of fair competition, which underpins the best elements of the European economy, and which we must work hard to spread.

The vote to leave

Throughout all of this, it is essential to keep in mind the reasons Britain voted to leave the European Union.

It was not, and never will be, a rejection of European ideals, our shared values and civilisation.

When we joined the European Community it was to participate in an economic organisation which has since adapted in ways that might work for many European nations, but does not work for the United Kingdom.

Our Referendum was a straightforward choice: a decision to move away from pooled sovereignty in favour of more control of our own destiny.

So when my colleagues and I take decisions around the Cabinet table about Brexit

Its with the intention of ensuring choices about Britains future are taken by Britains parliament, directly accountable to the British people.

Its not in order to undermine Europe, or to act against the interests of our nearest neighbours.

Having the European Union and its member states succeed, as our closest friends and allies, is absolutely in our national interest.

And if that doesnt seem obvious, just look at the ways we have used our sovereignty since the Referendum vote itself.

On Saturday our Prime Minister Theresa May explained the United Kingdoms steadfast commitment to European security.

At home, were delivering an ambitious environmental plan, that aims to leave the environment in a better state than that we found it in.

We have a modern industrial strategy which makes targeted investments to address long-term needs.

And responding to the revolution in modern working practices through the Taylor Review, which aims to ensure workers get the best possible combination of protection and opportunities from the modern economy.

These are the signposts to what the United Kingdom will look like after we have left the structures of the European Union.

Race to the top

Because when it comes our economic and regulatory systems, and how Britain will use our additional sovereignty, we face a new global context.

The world stands on the brink of the next phase of globalisation.

With competition from across the world and advances in new technology like autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and smart technologies which will transform our lives once again.

And as the tectonic plates of the global economy shift ever more rapidly, we must be ready.

So it is the choice of our country and the government of which I am a part not, as some in continental Europe seem to fear, to lead a competitive race to the bottom

But to lead a global race to the top.

Because the future of standards and regulations the building blocks of free trade is increasingly global.

And the world is waking up to it.

I was struck by what Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month, and I quote him:

If we do not define a standard for international cooperation, we will never manage to convince the middle and working classes, that globalization is good for them.

Thats Mr Macron. I could not agree more.

But we have to act on that insight.

For the UK, that means building on the reputation that we already have, as new technologies evolve and develop.

Because if we want to turn inventive ideas into successful industries

This will require effective, and supportive, regulation.

Regulation which gives confidence to firms considering investment, and to consumers considering how they might use them.

Take the automotive industry where the game-changing development of driverless cars, properly managed, will make travel faster, cheaper, more reliable and safer.

This is a brand new technology which requires a brand new legal framework: covering insurance, testing regulations, data, privacy, ownership and liability.

While the UK has some of the most creative and exciting facilities and opportunities for automotive investment in the world.

Sustainable growth has to be supported by regulatory environments which deliver for consumers, passengers and wider society without creating a crushing administrative burden for business.

So we are striving to set the global agenda for effective regulatory frameworks that keep consumers and passengers safe.

Which is why we are developing a long-term regulatory framework for self-driving vehicles, while updating our Code of Practice for testing them.

And we are also introducing new legislation, so that the use of self-driving vehicles can be covered by compulsory insurance.

The same is true for drones.

I soon expect to receive my deliveries from Amazon by drone.

In fact at this moment, weather permitting, at my home in Yorkshire a robot lawnmower, designed in Sweden and built in the North East of England, will be mowing the grass.

But if we are to realise the full potential of new aerial drone technology, we must also maintain our world-class aviation safety record and address security and privacy concerns.

To that end, the Government has set out fresh measures and new legislation, that will build the regulatory framework to ensure that drones are used safely.

Making us one of the first countries in the world to bring forward specific laws in this area.

Because by leading from the front and setting standards, you can drive innovation and enable new technology to thrive.

And by making it global, as President Macron proposes, we can give confidence to consumers without handicapping industry.

International cooperation

This race to the top is essential to tackle our shared challenges.

Work to combat climate change, for example, has to be done at an international level.

Air pollution, rising sea levels greenhouse gases do not respect national or even continental boundaries.

So international collaboration, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, is vital if we are going to protect our environment for future generations.

And in consumer standards, we will play a full role in the push for global standards in car safety, supporting the work of the United Nations.

So we will build on the leading reputation we have, and take other countries with us, as new challenges emerge.

And yes that will mean continuing to work with other European countries to drive new standards.

This is an area where we should be respectful partners, not suspicious competitors.

High standards

The United Kingdom is incredibly well placed to make this work.

We have an unrivalled track record in promoting high standards, both at home and abroad.

Standards for products and services t

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