Jeremy Corbyn has pledged that Labour would keep Britain in the EU internal energy market (IEM) and the Euratom nuclear co-operation treaty.
In a landmark speech today (26 February), setting out his party’s stance on the UK’s future trading relationships following Brexit, the opposition leader said it was in Britain’s interests to remain part of Euratom.
He said: “We will want to remain a part of agencies like Euratom, regulating nuclear materials in energy and health sectors.”
The Labour leader also used his speech to signal Labour will seek continued UK membership of the IEM to help support the development of the low carbon energy sector.
He said barrier-free trade of low carbon goods is necessary to underpin the growth of the UK’s low carbon and renewable energy sectors.
“These include eco-design and energy labelling standards, greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles, the internal energy market, construction product standards, chemicals regulation and nuclear safety and safeguards.”
“We can only tackle climate change, pollution and environmental degradation by working together and many of our closest allies in that struggle are in Europe,” Corbyn said.
He added: “The importance of getting our Brexit settlement right is vital in this area both in terms of Britain’s industrial role in reducing climate change and in terms of protecting jobs and industry.”
But Corbyn said Labour would seek to negotiate “protections, clarifications or exemptions” from the wider EU single market to restore public ownership in industries like energy.
He said: “We cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to support cutting edge industries and local business, stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing.”
Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that the Labour Party would seek to retain Euratom membership, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “The government’s position to replicate the current Euratom arrangements has already proved to be both a time-consuming and uncertain process, and it has only just begun.
“As yet, no new Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCAs) have been signed, discussions for a new trading arrangement with the EU have not begun, an agreement on continued involvement in nuclear R&D has not yet been reached and without a transitional period and continued relationship with Euratom, a new safeguarding inspections regime will need to both be agreed and capable of implementation by March 2019 – something the Office of Nuclear Regulation has stated it would not be able to deliver.
“The eventual outcome will be dependent upon negotiation and agreement with the European Commission but seeking to retain the benefits of membership of Euratom and avoid the confusion and uncertainty of a lack of a close association with Euratom, is sensible, pragmatic and in the interests of both the UK and continuing EU.”