Reading back over David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech, I was astonished to find the following statement:
“Our participation in the Single Market, and our ability to help set its rules is the principal reason for our membership of the EU.”
Could it be that the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is not aware of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which mandates that in product areas where “relevant international standards exist”, the signatories, which include both Britain and the European Union, “shall use them as a basis for their technical regulations” in preference to existing ‘domestic’ regulation?
The overwhelming majority of Single Market rules are technical standards for trade that apply globally. The EU role in the Single Market involves little more than putting its “stamp” on international regulations agreed between national governments at the BIS, Codex, UNECE, ITU, etc,. Therefore, taking Mr Cameron at his word, what he calls “the principle reason for our membership of the EU”—“participation in the Single Market”—is, in fact, a barrier to “our ability to help set [Single Market] rules”. The WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade means that Cameron is (unknowingly) supporting the case that is made by those who say that leaving the EU will enhance Britain’s global influence.
I already knew that the EU represents its various Member States, including Britain, on many of these important intergovernmental bodies, but I was not aware that Cameron had stated so publicly that the ability to “help set [Single Market] rules” is the “principle reason for our EU membership”. However, as an EU Member State, Britain actually has less of a say in setting Single Market rules. In other words, “the principle reason for our EU membership” is a compelling argument to “leave” the EU and forge a new relationship for Britain with the EU, founded on the principles of independent self-government and intergovernmental co-operation.