Free trade deals do not have to involve free movement of people

Free trade deals do not have to involve free movement of people

In July, French President, François Hollande, said the following at a press conference alongside Theresa May:

“The UK today has access to the single market because it respects the four freedoms. If it wishes to remain within the single market it is its decision to know how far and how it will have to abide by the four freedoms. None can be separated from the other. There cannot be freedom of movement of goods, free movement of capital, free movement of services if there isn’t a free movement of people … It will be a choice facing the UK – remain in the single market and then assume the free movement that goes with it or to have another status.”

Comments like these have been repeated by many EU figures over the past few months, all stating mantra-like that it is not possible to have free trade without free movement. But why?

It is of course entirely possible to have a free trade area without free movement of people. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an example of this. But unlike NAFTA, the EU was intended from its outset to create, as Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and others have previously said, “a country called Europe”. When we take a step back, it was clear that this was always the case. Why would a simple ‘common market’ or ‘trading bloc’ need its own flag, anthem, currency, embassies, foreign minister and “EU Battlegroups”?

Whether through fear of another large-scale European conflict or out of some Utopian vision, the architects of ‘Europe’ (detailed thoroughly in Booker and North’s seminal work on the subject, The Great Deception) set out to merge the continent – and its peoples – into a new, merged European identity.

In each European country there is a small, globe-trotting elite. They often sneer at their own countries and reject national identity as being parochial and old-fashioned. These people are often loud cheerleaders for the EU – while they themselves see themselves as cosmopolitan ‘Europeans’.  To them, national borders are simply an archaic annoyance.

However, on the whole, most people like their own nation states, their own languages, their own flags and their own traditions. While many people in Europe see themselves as notionally European they don’t want to give up their national identity, are uncomfortable with EU power grabs and concerned about mass movements of people to and from their countries.

With the exception of the UK, however, no other EU member state has reached the point of leaving yet. Why is this?

Simply put, the European elites use a carrot and stick approach – they use EU funds taxed from wealthier (net budget contributor) member states to fund projects in poorer member states, which are net recipients from the EU budget. In addition, the citizens of countries with low wages are allowed via the principle of free movement to work in countries with higher wages, and to send remittances back to their families in their own countries.

The citizens of better off countries of course have little interest in travelling to work in countries with lower wages, so they are threatened with metaphorical ‘sticks’ instead. The first metaphorical stick is the spectre of the 20th century World Wars. The EU constantly hints that without it, the continent would inevitably descend into armed conflict. Secondly, wealthy countries are endlessly told that unless they accept free movement, then their country cannot benefit from free trade, and so their economies will suffer and their standard of living will decrease.

The ‘four freedoms’ are venerated as inviolable truths that cannot be questioned. The truth is that the EU treaties allow the EU to sign any sort of deal it wants to sign with a third country – even one that would give the UK free trade without free movement. The problem for the EU elites is that if they give the UK a special ‘three freedoms’ deal – free movement of services, goods, capital, but not people, other EU countries will want the same.

So what can we conclude?

I believe the EU will give the UK a trade deal that allows us to restrict EU free movement. Realpolitik and mounting pressure from their own national business lobbies will insist on it.

The only real problem for the Eurocrats is how to give the UK the deal they know logically they must; but present it in such a way to the people of Europe that it looks like the UK got a bad deal and has come off worse in the negotiations.

No doubt they are brainstorming exactly how they can do this in the corridors of Brussels as we speak.