Yesterday, I pointed out what appear to be two serious problems in Iain Mansfield’s prize winning Brexit paper. First, he writes as if joining EFTA would in itself give preferential access to the European (ie EU) market. Second, he says that our entry to EFTA would need the agreement of the EU and all its member states.
On the second point, here is Article 56(1) of the consolidated (ie in its current amended form) EFTA Convention, which is also now known as the Vaduz Convention, since the major revision of the Convention at Vaduz in 2001:
I left off yesterday trying to understand what Iain Mansfield means by ‘EFTA access’ to the European market. It is true that all four EFTA countries do have a high degree of access to the European market through being part of the Single Market, either by means of the EEA Agreement or, in the case of Switzerland, through a series of bilateral agreements. But if we end the free movement of peoples, as Mansfield proposes, then, as I understand it, we would no longer be in the Single Market, in the normal sense of the term. Indeed, to the best of my knowledge, membership of EFTA itself would not give any preferential market access to the nations of the Single Market (EEA plus Switzerland).
In July 2013, the Institute of Economic Affairs announced a competition to
compose a Blueprint for Britain outside the EU, covering the process of withdrawal from the EU and the post-exit repositioning of the UK in the global trading and governance systems, covering, inter alia:
- The legal and constitutional process necessary for the UK to leave the EU and set up, if desired, alternative international relationships. This would include not just the process within the EU itself but the changes to UK law and regulation that would be desirable or necessary.
- Negotiation of the UK’s post-EU-exit position to settle the UK’s relationships with the remaining EU and other interested parties and, crucially, with the rest of the world, in respect of trade, supranational governance, immigration, the environment, financial regulation, defence etc.
The winning entry, by Iain Mansfield, and entitled ‘A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation‘ was announced in April 2014. I am taking a look at it today, not to pass judgement on it as a whole, for which I am hardly qualified, but to make a few observations.