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 AvatarPaul Walter 22nd Oct - 6:34pm
    Tim13 Well I look forward to such a connotation appearing in a dictionary. Can you spot it in a dictionary? I can’t even see such...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 22nd Oct - 6:06pm
    I also agree with Richard - and everyone else who has expressed opposition to a special conference. The proposed constitutional changes seem mildly interesting and...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 22nd Oct - 5:33pm
    @nvelope2003 "Please name the Liberal Democrat MP who would inspire large numbers of people to vote for the party at an election." A similar challenge...
  • User AvatarNigel Quinton 22nd Oct - 5:20pm
    Well said Richard. Holding a special conference is the daftest test of whether we are a radical movement I have come across yet. I hope...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 22nd Oct - 5:13pm
    Jenny barnes, Jayne Mansfield: Lib Dems refused to prop up the Tories after the last election, even though the parliamentary arithmetic allowed for it. There...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 22nd Oct - 5:09pm
    Richard is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. Even if there is support for constitutional changes, it should not be voted on until Autumn 2019. As I said in...