The relationship between the EU and the UK has been on a seemingly bitter course since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016. Questions are constantly being asked as to whether the EU is strong-arming the UK as punishment, or if the UK even knows what it wants form a future trade deal. But this week, we saw a rare olive branch that gives an indication of what relationship the UK wants from the EU.

The British Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis spoke to leading Austrian business leaders in Vienna on Tuesday.  Referencing those who fear falling standards in the wake of Brexit, David Davis said that“they fear that Brexit could lead to an Anglo-Saxon race-to-the-bottom, with Britain plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction. These fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing, not history, not intention, nor interest.”

Davis’ reassurances also came with the promise of being a strong global citizen. In a question at the end, he said that the future of the relationship will continue to be based on mutual strategic interest for the region. The UK is the largest contributor to defence and foreign affairs in the European Union. However, rather than the bullish tactics and finger pointing we have seen throughout the negotiations, Davis highlighted that the UK wants the EU to succeed and that there is a mutual interest in the success. The full answer is below:

This was some of the most promising content of his speech. This is because it reminds us that there are other ways to productively cooperative with Europe rather than being in the European Union. The UK and the EU have many dependencies upon each other and each will need to cooperative in the future. Davis reminds the European Union that by choosing to go “global” doesn’t mean the UK is turning it’s back on Europe as a continent. It is possible to be friends and not live under the same roof.