Rebuilding Trade & Cooperation with Europe

12 Mar 2022

At this dark moment, our security depends on urgently forging a relationship that works with our closest neighbours. Countering the grave threat posed by Putin means we must stand tall with our European allies instead of needlessly antagonising them, while working closely together on issues like energy security, trade and helping Ukrainian refugees.

We cannot afford to be disunited in the face of Russian aggression. For too long, our ties with Europe have been defined by petty squabbling and the government’s overly ideological approach. British people and small businesses who are tangled in red tape are paying the price and they deserve better.

It’s time for a different approach. The Conservatives’ dogmatic approach has damaged our standing on the world stage, our relationships with our closest neighbours, and our economy.

The Conservatives are simply incapable of making the choices that will improve people’s lives.

Liberal Democrats want a way forward which works for Britain - that cuts down red tape, reduces costs for businesses and makes people better off as a result.

Europe represents our closest neighbour and our largest trading partner.

The blunt reality is that fine-tuning and tinkering on the edges of our trading relationship with Europe will not be enough. It will not provide the stability which will boost the British economy.

Today Liberal Democrat members have endorsed a four stage roadmap to establish the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe, benefitting British businesses and families. It starts by acknowledging that ties between the UK and Europe have been deeply damaged by years of haggling and will have to be forged in a new way gradually over time.

The four-stage plan is as follows:

  • Taking immediate action to improve links with our European neighbours, including building closer ties in education by reforming the government’s Turing scheme.
  • Further steps to build confidence and establish stronger relationships with Europe, including seeking cooperation agreements with EU agencies, returning to Erasmus Plus and seeking to reach a UK-EU agreement on asylum seekers.
  • Deepening trade with Europe, including by negotiating greater access for our world-leading UK food and animal products to the Single Market, securing deals on sector-specific work visas and establishing mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
  • Once the trading relationship between the UK and the EU is deepened, and the ties of trust and friendship are renewed, aim to place the UK–EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the Single Market.

Read the full motion

Liberal Democrats are the UK’s most pro-European political party.

We believe Britain’s best future is at the heart of Europe - and our long-term ambition is to see the UK in that place once more.




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