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]
While incorrect, we can see where he picked up such inaccuracies. Continue reading Lessons from Norway
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.
The UK doesn’t need to be in the EU to be in the single market, it can retain membership of the EEA (European Economic Area) via EFTA (the European Free Trade Association).
It doesn’t need to be subject to the ECJ, instead it could dock to the separate, more sovereignty-friendly EFTA 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.
Firstly, we have UNECE (The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) which discusses (amongst other things) the environment, reducing non-tariff barriers, trade facilitation and promoting Standardization as well as the rules and regulations around the automotive industry.
Continue reading The EU is not ‘Europe’
Here is our new report concerning Brexit: The Gordian Knot problem revisited – In search of a Smart Brexit
<<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 .
Read the letter HERE
Story also discussed here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/19/german-business-leaders-conservatives-tories-rethink-plan-leave-single-market-trade-eu
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
Squaring the circle – the Single Market without free movement?
Can the UK after Brexit retain membership of the European Single Market without free movement (FoM)?
Short answer: No.
Long answer?: – read on…
The UK government white paper of February 2017 setting out its Brexit aims and objectives managed somehow to be simultaneously both clear and opaque:
“The Government will prioritise securing the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods and services between the UK and the EU. Continue reading Squaring the Circle
In a recent article on the POLITICO.EU website it was reported that:
“Brussels is contemplating another way to keep U.K. trade going with the EU after Brexit that would also keep Britain under the EU umbrella — go the way of Norway.
Brussels now has a plan B: The U.K. could temporarily become a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) while both sides transition into their future relationship, a senior Commission official told POLITICO. Continue reading Brussels open to UK rejoining EFTA
How to Defy Gravity?
“I don’t want it – No – I can’t want it Anymore;
Something has changed within me, something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game.
Too late for second-guessing, Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts, Close my eyes and leap!
It’s time to try, Defying gravity
I think I’ll try, Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!”
- Wicked the Musical – ‘Defying Gravity’
In a recent report called ‘Can Global Britain Defy Gravity?’, trade experts Samuel Lowe and Grant Lewis have explored some of the issues which will be faced by Britain post-Brexit.
The report is well worth a read, and we urge you to do so before you continue reading.
The key parts of the report are reproduced below:
“…where leavers and remainers disagree is on the potential benefits that FTAs with non-EU countries offer relative to the cost that would be paid by losing membership of the world’s largest and deepest, multi-country single market. The following paper attempts to analyse whether it is indeed possible to offset the costs of losing Single Market (and Customs Union) membership via FTAs with other countries. Continue reading Defying Gravity
Tomorrow (28/03/2017), Theresa May will issue the UK’s article 50 notification, which officially starts the process of leaving the European Union.
This process is likely to be highly complex and granular.
As Professor Anand Menon recently wrote in the Independent:
Continue reading A simple Brexit?
EFTA 4 UK response to speech by Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom
In Brussels, on 22 March 2017 Monsieur Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the EU in relation to Brexit negotiations made a speech which we would like to respond to.
Our commentary is in Bold.
In the speech he said:
“Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Continue reading Response to Barnier speech: