Tag Archives: efta

How we can stop a hard Brexit NOW: The case for the EFTA option

Brexit is an absolute shambles.

Theresa May’s new Chequers deal did little to convince her own cabinet, let alone anybody else, and Labour in opposition are offering nothing either. All the while Britain is bitterly divided, and appears to be close to taking a long walk off of a short pier.

There is however a ready-made solution that could sort this mess out, and that is for the UK to join the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This arrangement already works well for Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and it could work well for Britain too.

By joining the EFTA Britain would remain in the single market, providing peace of mind to the business community, and the hundreds of workers whose jobs currently hang in the balance. We would also have access to the trade agreements that the EFTA states already have with Canada, Mexico and others, which would further alleviate the economic risks of a hard Brexit. In addition, EFTA countries have a significant amount of influence over single market legislation, which May’s plan would not give us. EEA membership would also allow us to retain freedom of movement, which would secure the futures of over 3 million EU citizens currently living here, that this government is ready to betray.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 109 Comments

Reintroducing Liberal Leave

 

Liberal Leave was formed as a part of Vote Leave during the EU referendum. It had the slogan “Liberal. Democratic. Internationalist.” and it mainly operated through social media. The most high-profile figure in the Group was an ex-MP called Paul Keetch who wrote an article in the Independent called “Think that if you are liberal you should vote to stay in the EU? Think again”. I was part of that group during the EU referendum and I now chair it.

I have tried to change the group so it is about a compromise between Remain and Leave, one that can be found in the ‘Icelandic option’ which differs from the ‘Norway option’ due to its use of safeguard measures. Compromise is what I feel Brexit should now be about, because otherwise hard-line groups on either side will shape it for us in the years to come.

We are against a second referendum. The argument used by Tim Farron during the recent election campaign was that we didn’t vote for a destination, just to leave the EU and that’s right. Therefore, we should have a referendum on just that, the destination. Do we want to remain members of the single market and do we want to remain members of the customs union? We should ask that rather than replaying the EU referendum.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 171 Comments

Norway option, at least in the interim, offers the only sensible route out of this mess

The Conservative party likes to boast that it, combined with our FPTP electoral system, provides strong and stable government.

Well, a fat lot of strength and stability the Tory party and FPTP system have given us in the last two years!

We’ve had two Prime Ministers, Cameron and May, who will have historians squabbling for years as to whether they are the worst or second worst or third worst Prime Ministers in the history of this country!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

Brexit: How we could be in the single market with greater control over immigration – the Adam Smith Institute

The words of President Hollande on Thursday reinforced the UK’s apparent dilemma:

It’s the most crucial point… Britain will have to choose: stay in the single market and accept free movement or have another status.

I have banged on about this since the referendum. There is a halfway house – that of being in the EEA and EFTA.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

The EFTA/EEA Norway model provides some scope to lessen the pain of Brexit, while increasing control over immigration

One of the legacies of the Leave’s irresponsible, hotch-botched campaign is that, in the public mind, leaving the EU has become inextricably intertwined with leaving the single market and eschewing free movement of goods, services, capital and people. We need to move beyond this binary thinking, which is bordering on the moronic.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

The Swiss Wheeze: the Better Off Out argument that’s full of holes

Swiss CheeseIf only we were Switzerland, eh? That’s the dream of the Better Off Out brigade, who long for its freedom as part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). And it’s a tempting offer: all the benefits of free trade with EU member states, and (if you believe Nigel Farage, Dan Hannan et al) none of the risks.

Except it’s not quite that easy, as The Economist highlighted when it investigated Britain’s options.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 19 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 5th Jul - 2:24pm
    My issue with long term objectives is that circumstances change both external in events and internal in poll ratings etc. As long as the objectives...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 5th Jul - 1:55pm
    Peter Martin: I'm not talking about any sort of pact, much less unilateral ones. In any case, I understand that the Labour party constitution doesn't...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 5th Jul - 1:46pm
    This is good work by the Libdem MPS. Spain has already introduced a minimum income guarantee covering around 2.3m low-income people in 850,000 households. The...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 5th Jul - 1:32pm
    We need a sea change in our attitude to property. We should be less attached to our physical surroundings so we are more likely to...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 5th Jul - 1:28pm
    When facts especially about the future are scarce, politicians tend to rely on their political instincts. With the Conservatives this will be protecting their voters....
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jul - 1:05pm
    @ Alex Macfie, "....an informal agreement between Lib Dems and Labour to keep out of each other’s Tory-facing battlegrounds" I can see how it would...