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]
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→
Over the last few days, we have read several media reports that say Norway may be softening her views on a possible British return to EFTA. Readers of this page will know that three out of the four current member countries of EFTA have expressed an interest in the UK returning to the Bloc, with Norway as the exception.
We hope that these reports are accurate and that the British Prime Minister begins informal talks with the EFTA countries as soon as possible, hopefully with formal talks to begin shortly after.
During the course of the EU referendum campaign, both sides have claimed that the former British Prime Minister, the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher would have supported their campaign.
The ‘Remain’ campaign say that it is clear that Mrs Thatcher would be pro-remain. They cite three main points – firstly, that Mrs Thatcher campaigned on the ‘remain’ side in the EEC referendum of 1975.
Secondly, that while in office, Mrs Thatcher signed the Single European act, a treaty that substantially moved forward the process of European integration and regulation.
Thirdly, they say that if alive today the former Prime Minister would have made a hard-headed decision to remain based on trade and other economic factors.
In this short essay we will attempt to address each of these issues and detail, with annotations and citations why we believe beyond doubt that Mrs Thatcher would not only would vote for Brexit today, but would be actively campaigning for it.
Mrs Thatcher’s views on ‘Europe’ (by which we mean the EC, EEC and later the EU) can be described in terms of four broad phases:
Phase one – her views before she became Prime Minister, Phase two – her views on Europe during the height of her powers as Prime Minister, phase three – her views towards the end of her premiership; finally, her views after the EEC became the EU after the Maastricht Treaty was enacted. Continue reading Brexit, EFTA and Mrs Thatcher→
As a small child, so small I no longer remember the specifics of the question, I asked my father about immigration. While I can no longer recall the question, his answer will remain with me forever.
“Anyone who wants to come and work, pay taxes and raise their children is as British as you or I.”
And that small child grew up into the sort of person who knows the SECOND verse of the Marseilles. The sort who secretly listens to French pop music. The type of person who always has enough Euros in his wallet to grab a pack of Galois, an expresso and a copy of the IHT wherever he has ended up. And the where has included living and working across Europe and beyond. Therefore, the principle of free movement of workers – if not the implementation – is something for which I am passionate advocate.
Consequently, people are often surprised by my opposition to the EU. “But you love Europe”, they exclaim. “It will still be there after we leave the EU”, I respond.
Effectively there are two clubs that can play in the single market I explain. The European Union is the club for countries that plan to federate.
The European Free Trade Association is the trade bloc-alternative for European states who are unwilling to join the federation.
If we do not plan to federate I argue, we should be in the latter.
“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.”