Dynamic alignment – no silver bullet for a level playing field

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Dynamic alignment is the term used to describe a process by which the UK would continue to follow the EU’s standards after exit, in order to avoid reductions of environmental, labour or other standards. It is important to maintain a level playing field in policy areas that progress regularly, such as chemicals, but it can prove to be difficult in practice.

Professor Charlotte Burns suggested that the UK should take over a comprehensive set of environmental standards (if possible, the whole environmental acquis), including some form of future alignment. According to MEP Sirta Pietikäinen, this would raise the issue of enforcement which should be a pre-requisite in negotiations. Another difficulty discussed with dynamic alignment was the question of a democratic deficit. One way of avoiding this could be May’s proposal to allow UK Parliament a vote on any new developments in EU law, though is not at all clear how this could work in practical terms. The IEEP’s senior fellow David Baldock suggested that in any scenario, the level of alignment will have to be proportional to the future type of relationship: bilateral trade agreement, customs union or single market.

Recording of “Brexit and the environment: What’s next” event

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