What are the consequences for the European Union? – EURACTIV.fr

British Tory heavyweights like to say their members make up “The world’s most advanced electorate”. The fact that prime ministers can only be elected by 150,000 members of the Conservative Party is certainly one of the hallmarks of British democracy.

Unlike in 2019, when Boris Johnson has always been a strong candidate to win the support of party loyalists, this time around there is no clear favourite.

Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak enjoys greater support among the general public, as well as among Conservative Party MPs. Secretary of State Liz Truss currently has a short lead among members of the Conservative Party.

After a slow start to the campaign, Liz Truss regained support as other candidates from the party’s right were eliminated, following a coordinated campaign in the right-wing media by her allies aimed at weakening her opponent, Benny Mordaunt.

Critics and party members anticipate a bitter and personal campaign full of dirty tricks.

Mr. Sunak accused Ms. Truss of practicing a “Fantasy Economy” After promising tax cuts and referring to her past as a member of the pro-European Liberal Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss attacked Sunak’s privileged upbringing as a socialist to raise taxes to reduce the budget deficit caused by Covid-19-related spending.

Sunak’s leadership prospects have been almost dented by revelations that his wife had applied for non-resident tax status to avoid paying UK tax even though he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. So Ms Truss’ team is expected to take advantage of this situation in the coming weeks.

The Brexit referendum remains a key dividing line in British politics, especially within the Conservative Party.

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Mr Sunak has campaigned for Brexit, while Ms Truss, although always silent on the subject, has been in favor of keeping the country in the EU. However, it has won the support of the most ferocious group of conservative parliamentarians in the European Union, the European Research Group (ERG).

Three years into Johnson’s government, the question is what any of the candidates could mean for EU-UK relations. These relations were weakened first by the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and then by a series of disagreements regarding the implementation of the new trade agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom and the Protocol for Northern Ireland.

In terms of concrete measures, neither Truss nor Sunak appear to want to bring the UK closer to Brussels.

Ms Truss has kept tabs on the Conservative leadership race for most of the year and observers believe this is part of the reason for her support of the Northern Ireland Bypass Protocol bill currently under debate in the British Parliament. The protocol bill is popular with Brexit supporters and looks almost certain to be passed in the fall.

Moreover, once prime minister, Ms. Truss must return the favor and please her supporters, the ERB and the conservative right.

Since 2016, Ms Truss has quickly become a staunch supporter of Brexit and, as Secretary of State for International Trade between 2019 and 2021, she was responsible for negotiating the transfer of EU trade agreements with third party countries into UK law.

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Having done most of the work on the UK’s trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, deals with the US and Pacific countries are likely to be a priority. Johnson’s “Global Britain” project, whose political significance did not match his rhetoric, could be revived under Mrs. Truss.

However, it is Sunak whose initial political promises seem likely to push the UK away from the EU.

He pledged to fix all remaining EU laws that impose unnecessary red tape and hinder business by the next general election. In fact, these regulations are unlikely to be burned alive.

Indeed, deciding what is not necessary – REACH imposes administrative burdens on chemicals but is necessary to protect human health, for example – is a difficult task and in each case it will be necessary to mobilize trade unions, business leaders or both.

This helps explain why this massive liberalization was a promise three successive Conservative prime ministers made and then quietly abandoned.

A promise that is likely to be kept is Mr. Sunak’s promise to scrap financial services regulations, most of which were passed by the European Union in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The goal is to initiate the growth of the financial sector similar to what was observed in the 1980s, after ” the great explosion “ To liberate the government of Margaret Thatcher.

So the UK will be closer to a Singapore North SeaIt has long been sought by supporters of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

At the same time, his promise to drop the UK’s membership of the EU’s data protection regime, the General Data Protection Regulation, in favor of a less restrictive regime, would risk nullifying the “convenience agreement” that allows for the continued flow of data between the UK and the EU.

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Relations between Brussels and London have been characterized by mistrust, often stemming from Johnson’s ability to back out of agreements or simply undo them.

His successor will not bring the UK closer to the EU in terms of policy – only a change of government is possible – but the tone, trust and goodwill will likely be stronger under the new leadership.

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