As the ambiguity of Brexit continues to linger, the British government has published a white paper that sets out in greater detail its aims for the forthcoming negotiations. Central to the government’s plan is securing a future that does not impede the free movement of goods and people within Europe.

“Given the uncertainty our members have had to deal with over the past months, this additional detail from [the British] Government is very welcome,” explains Howard Pridding, chief executive at British Marine. “Many of our members benefit from the skills and expertise of EU nationals, so the government’s recognition that there needs to be an effective post-Brexit migration system, developed in consultation with industry, is good news.”

The 12 principles set out by the British government are as follows:

  • Providing certainty and clarity - We will provide certainty wherever we can as we approach the negotiations
  • Taking control of our own laws - We will take control of our own statute book and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK
  • Strengthening the Union - We will secure a deal that works for the entire UK - Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all parts of England. We remain fully committed to the Belfast Agreement and its successors
  • Protecting our strong and historic ties with Ireland and maintaining the Common Travel Area - We will work to deliver a practical solution that allows for the maintenance of the Common Travel Area, while protecting the integrity of our immigration system and which protects our strong ties with Ireland
  • Controlling immigration - We will have control over the number of EU nationals coming to the UK
  • Securing rights for EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU - We want to secure the status of EU citizens who are already living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in other Member States, as early as we can
  • Protecting workers' rights - We will protect and enhance existing workers' rights
  • Ensuring free trade with European markets - We will forge a new strategic partnership with the EU, including a wide reaching, bold and ambitious free trade agreement, and will seek a mutually beneficial new customs agreement with the EU
  • Securing new trade agreements with other countries - We will forge ambitious free trade relationships across the world
  • Ensuring the UK remains the best place for science and innovation - We will remain at the vanguard of science and innovation and will seek continued collaboration with our European partners
  • Cooperating in the fight against crime and terrorism - We will continue to work with the EU to preserve European security, to fight terrorism, and to uphold justice across Europe
  • Delivering a smooth, orderly exit from the EU - We will seek a phased process of implementation, in which both the UK and the EU institutions and the remaining EU Member States prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us

Crucially, for UK- and Red Ensign-flagged vessels, it is seen as imperative that vessels, including superyachts, should be able to travel within Europe without being subjected to operation stack and arduous customs procedures. Assuming that the UK doesn’t intend to stop trading with continental Europe, it has been deemed absolutely necessary to protect the uninterrupted flow of goods. If such a position is untenable as a result of not being part of the single market, an equivalent system will need to be brokered through political means.