Journalist Simon Nixon, Chief European Commentator at the Wall Street Journal and columnist at The Times recently wrote an article entitled ‘Norway option’ is not a long-term answer to the problems posed by Brexit in which he tried to rule out the EFTA/EEA model as an option for the UK after Brexit. Continue reading Response to Simon Nixon→
It is our opinion that the UK should not seek to maintain membership of the EU or its Customs Union (or an approximation of it).
In order to pursue a ‘Global Britain’ strategy, the UK must be free to strike trade deals across the world, free from the Common external tariff (CET) and common commercial policy.
This approach comes with both risks and opportunities.
Potentially, the UK might leave the EU on Friday, 29 March 2019 with no free trade agreements with the EU member states or with any country anywhere in the world and be forced to trade with the rest of the world on WTO (world trade Organisation) terms. Our view is that this would be catastrophic for the UK economy and jobs.
On the other hand, the UK could become a global nexus of free trade, unparalleled anywhere in the world. This would usher in a new era for the UK on the world stage.
Today, in response to the announcement by Labour’s Keir Starmer about the possibility of the UK remaining in the EEA after Brexit; Labour Member of Parliament for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock tweeted the below message:
Journalist Stephen Bush recently wrote an article for the New Statesman in which he criticised those advocating an EFTA-style soft Brexit.
In the article he wrote:
“…the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”…”[i]
Its fair to say that many people in the UK (on both sides of the referendum argument) have a pretty simplistic view of how Europe works. They believe that its a binary choice – you are either ‘all in’ – the EU, Single Market, ECJ, Customs Union etc or all out – cutting all ties to ‘Europe’.
In fact, the nature of ‘Europe’ is far more complex.
It doesn’t need to be subject to the ECJ, instead it could dock to the separate, more sovereignty-friendlyEFTA court. It doesn’t need to be part of any EU military force, just retain its membership of NATO. The UK doesn’t need to be in EUROPOL, it can sign a co-operation agreement with that body, and also continue to co-operate with European countries on crime prevention via the UNODC and Interpol.
But what about other forms of European co-operation? There are a galaxy of bodies out there which the UK is *already signed up to* which will allow the UK to co-operate with other European nations.
<<UPDATED 23/06/2017 with official translation link>>
As reported this week in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,[i] Economic experts from the Federal Government’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs have written a letter[ii] to the German Minister for Economic Affairs Brigitte Zypries, warning about the potentially serious consequences of Brexit.
According to the report, the letter (dated 28th April 2017) says that the process of Brexit poses “risks of unnecessary damage to economic relations”.
The letter (which we have translated to the best of our abilities) makes some interesting suggestions and recommendations.
It states that the 2 year Article 50 period will be too short to conclude a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and so the period should either be extended, or the UK should rejoin EFTA (The European Free Trade Association) as an interim step or as part of a more permanent solution .
Earlier this month, an interview with EFTA Court President Carl Baudenbacher was reported on the website http://www.eu-infothek.com/ which we thought was very enlightening and deserved a UK audience – so here are some excerpts. We hope the site (and Prof Baudenbacher) doesn’t mind – if so, please e-mail us and we can take this down.
NOTE: Apologies if this is an imperfect translation – feel free to offer a better one!
Brexit i.e. the departure of Great Britain from the European Union, has officially begun. The EU Information Center spoke with the President of the EFTA Court, Carl Baudenbacher, on various models for the future relations between the UK and the continent: Continue reading EFTA Court chief talks Brexit→