Why a deal on energy could break the Brexit logjam

(EurActiv, 8 Sep 2020) The window for a post-Brexit trade deal is closing fast but the basics are already in place for an agreement on the energy sector, and mutual benefits would be huge, writes Michael Grubb.

Professor Michael Grubb is the research director and professor of energy and climate change at the University College London Institute for Sustainable Resources. 

The Brexit options are narrowing fast, and talk of any deal is starting to emphasise simplicity – not least to enable quick ratification. Any such agreement must acknowledge the underlying principles at stake. The big question is whether the principles need to be fully elaborated in trade deals across all sectors at once.

There is already talk of an ‘implementation’ period, but any agreement has to contain concrete outcomes in at least some sectors, where facilitated by key conditions and exceptional mutual interest.  The energy sector is one obvious candidate.

On principles, the EU cannot allow the single market to be undermined by inferior standards in key areas, but the UK has already indicated it would not reduce labour or environmental standards from current levels, with discussions about possible tariff provisions in the event of major future divergence.

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EurActiv, 8 Sep 2020: Why a deal on energy could break the Brexit logjam