Will we have any say over the rules?
Critics argue that if we leave and rejoin EFTA we will still “have to obey EU rules”.
Let’s be clear – the EU has very little influence over EFTA states.
The EFTA states are exempt from most of the contentious EU policy areas such as:
- Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies
- Customs Union
- Common Trade Policy
- Common Foreign and Security Policy
- Justice and Home Affairs
- Monetary Union (EMU)
The areas in which the EU does have control are largely those to do with the single market, product standards and regulations. In many cases these rules are simply European interpretations of standards agreed at regional or global standard-setting bodies.
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In an echo of the UK’s last referendum on Europe in 1975, 58 per cent polled for think tank the Bruges Group said they would prefer the UK to be part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
According to the Opinium poll, 52 per cent preferred EFTA over EU membership.
An interesting blog about EFTA and the EEA:
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“People in EFTA are more than twice as rich as those in the EU. They also enjoy lower inflation, higher employment, healthier budget surpluses and lower real interest rates. Interestingly, they also export more per head than EU states, selling $16,498 per capita to overseas markets – the highest ratio in the world.
Since British Euro-philes have always based their argument on economic necessity, EFTA pretty well demolishes their case. Here, after all, is empirical evidence that countries which participate in the European market without subjecting themselves to the associated costs of membership are wealthier than full EU members.
Nor is this coincidence. The EFTA states have found a way to have their cake while guzzling away at it. They are not identical, of course; each one has struck its own accord with Brussels. In particular, there are important differences between Switzerland, whose relations with the EU are mediated through sixteen sectoral treaties, and the other three, which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA). But some things can be said of all four of them.”
Every year, EFTA holds informative events in Brussels.
The next seminar will take place on Wednesday 3 February 2016 at the EFTA Secretariat’s premises in Brussels.
It is free to attend, but you must register HERE
Brexit vote could trigger European free market ‘chain reaction’, say Swiss and Icelandic MPs
A British exit from the EU could spark a free market “chain reaction” across the continent, encouraging countries such as Denmark and Sweden to take control of their own destiny.
Politicians from Switzerland and Iceland’s largest parties claim the UK would be able to stand outside of the EU, dismissing the idea that it could be left isolated as “nonsense”.
Rather, Britain could emerge from the EU to enjoy a free-trade only relationship and become more prosperous, they argue. READ MORE