De-Europeanisation of UK Regulatory Governance and the Future UK-EU Trade Relationship
With the exception of obligations during the transition period until the 31 December 2020, the UK will leave the EU Single Market and will need to negotiate a new regulatory framework for its future trade relationship with EU. The primary issue for the UK will be how much market access it will want to secure and what regulatory obligations will it be required to comply with in return for this. During EU membership, integration led to the UK’s regulatory framework becoming Europeanised which ensured the removal of trade barriers and provided for a level playing field of regulatory governance through harmonisation of technical standards and public policy objectives such as environmental standards or employment protection. As part of the future UK-EU trade relationship, the EU will be likely to insist on continuity of high levels of regulatory alignment, but the UK has indicated that it wishes to diverge from EU rules, leaving significant challenges for the UK-EU trade negotiations. This article considers the opportunity for the UK to de-Europeanise its regulatory governance after Brexit and whether and to what extent this will be compatible with negotiating a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU.