Labour Would Discuss Boosting Youth Mobility With EU, Lammy Says

(Bloomberg) -- A Labour government would be willing to discuss how to allow young adults to move more easily between the UK and European Union as part of broader negotiations to boost cooperation, the poll-leading opposition party’s shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said.

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If Labour wins the next general election, it would “get into negotiation” with the EU when the post-Brexit trade agreement is reviewed in 2025, Lammy said at the Institute of Government on Friday. Polls put the party on track to enter government after the vote, which must be held by the end of January.

“We’re not naive — of course there’s always trade-offs with the EU, but we will approach those conversations in a positive manner,” Lammy said. Youth mobility will be “part of the discussions,” he said, though he reiterated Labour won’t return to the EU single market’s freedom of movement rules.

Lammy’s comments come after the bloc’s executive body last month proposed an agreement whereby EU and UK citizens between 18 to 30 years would be allowed to stay in the destination country for as long as four years. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative administration rejected the idea.

Read more: UK Rejects EU Proposal to Ease Travel for Young Adults

While Labour has ruled out re-joining the EU single market or customs union, it does foresee closer ties with Britain’s largest trading partner. It wants to negotiate both a security pact and a veterinary agreement to ease checks on food and plant products at the border.

“The next election is an opportunity to turn the page on the post-Brexit rancor of the past,” Lammy said. “We need to get back on trusted, friendly terms.”

The number of students and temporary workers coming from the EU has fallen drastically after Britain voted to leave the bloc in 2016. That has left restaurants and other hospitality businesses, particularly in London, short of the steady stream of workers that they relied on.

The UK currently has youth mobility arrangements with 13 countries including Australia, Canada and Japan.

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