5 February 2021
The Green Party has called on the government to seek to negotiate readmission to the EU customs union to reduce pressure on business and ease tensions in Northern Ireland.
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said:
“Although being outside the single market will still mean health checks, rejoining the customs union would greatly reduce the paperwork required by exporters. It could also enable us to join the EU VAT area, thus removing the charges now facing consumers buying goods from EU suppliers.
“The decision to leave the customs union was an ideological mistake by the Conservatives, who always downplayed the impacts it would have on business. Now we see the chaotic reality unfolding. It is not too late to say we made a mistake and to explore options for rejoining the customs union without rejoining the EU’s political institutions.
“The country was divided down the middle during the referendum, and most people thought we would stay in the single market and customs union. A decision to leave the political institutions was not a mandate to choose the hardest possible Brexit.
“The Green Party maintains that Brexit was a mistake of historic proportions and that the government must do what it can to mitigate against the impacts that are already becoming clear. We also maintain our belief that our best long term future lies at the heart of Europe.”