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Pete North @PeteNorth303
, 25 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1. So the Norway option is back in the game. It's the one #Brexit approach that can work without a body blow to the economy. It's the only real way to avoid a cliff edge. Without it we will probably see an implosion of regulatory systems and this will simply stop working.
2. Typically any mention of the EEA sends the ultra Brexit loons into a tailspin. They have a crib sheet of counter arguments all of which are based on the most superficial analysis and do not stand up to scrutiny. So here is an unvarnished look at it...
3. Firstly we deal with the assertion we would be a rule take. Firstly, everybody is a rule taker - including the EU. Nobody makes all their own laws. Many based on international conventions and global standards. It is inevitable that we will adopt some EU rules.
4. Ultra Brexiters say we would adopt all the EU rules - but actually it's less than a third - mostly product regs and food safety along with market governance. Some of this is based on WTO and some based on global rules.
5. They say we'd have no say in the rules but we will have our own seat in the global bodies as well as observer status in the EU - with a chance to negotiate adoption, putting opt outs into the EEA agreement. that;s how the system works. EEA states do not automatically adopt.
6. Sometimes the EU will steamroller rules through. Norway does complain about this. UK+Efta is considerably more clout to stop this happening. Norway doesn't use its veto but it does negotiate exceptions and irons out the bugs.
7. In this debate you cannot take the Norwegian PMs words at face value because 1. She's a politician and little more informed than ours. 2. She's a europhile. The EEA system is fairer than she says it is.
8. The adoption of rules is a political process - and this is an area where it helps to pick your battles - and build up political capital so you only veto when you really need to. Win some, lose some.
9. This is actually preferable to the Swiss model because they end up adopting rules verbatim with direct ECJ applicability - and they do not have the firewall of the Efta court. They can't even delay implementation.
10. Norway also doesn't veto because it doesn't really have the resource to create technical regulation for every sector. Makes sense to adopt EU rules. Its largest city is smaller than Leeds. The UK relationship would be quite a bit different. We'd have more say + more pushback.
11. This would allow us to maintain all our certifications/approvals and would go most of the way to maintaining frictionless borders. It keeps our regulatory systems from imploding and reduces the legislative workload of Brexit.
12. As a Brexiter I can see why some don't like it but I like the alternatives a lot less. Especially when the Tory "free trade" tropes are based on supposition and guess work. Their ideas are decades obsolete.
13. More to the point, this is an off the shelf deal so we don;t end up spending years in a vassal state transition negotiating an inferior deal where member states look to cannibalise our current market share. We will be taken to the cleaners. With EEA we can be our far sooner.
14. EEA also means that we don't need a customs union. We would also join the free trade agreements that Efta already has. We would be a strong and proud contributor to Efta. More proactive than we were as an EU member.
15. It's also the right move for all of Europe. We strengthen Efta while letting the Eu get on with what it needs to do, and we leave the political union without economic damage that would hurt both the EU and the UK. It really is a no brainer.
16. Remainers treat EEA as second best - as a grudging compromise but I think it's better than EU membership because it places a political distinction between us an them without destroying commercial networks. Gives us freedom to act independently.
17. Hard Brexiters will say that EEA is not leaving the EU. This is categorically untrue. A lie in fact. The regulatory union beyond the EU is a joint EU-Efta venture and UK evens out the balance of power in Efta.
18. It would mean retaining a lot of business regulation - but if you listen to business it doesn't want deregulation because the change process is expensive and results in inferior access to markets. Deregulation is a Tory fiction going back to the dark ages.
19. If we did go for slash and burn deregulation the EU could legitimately retaliate to remove the competitive advantage - and when most countries are now converging on global rules (as is the EU) there really isn't any point.
20. As to freedom of movement - EEA freedom of movement is not EU citizenship. It's free movement for *workers*. We can modify it via the EEA institutions but more importantly it is not the EU trojan horse to take control of social legislation. That's what EU citizenship is.
21. Hard Brexiters warn against the EEA pointing to other countries who still trade with EU but look at their FTAs. They have to change their laws to meet the EU requirements.
22. More to the point, other countries have never been in the EU. We have - which creates a lot of legislative friction during exit which is eased by the EEA, meaning we can change what we need to change while leaving the worthwhile bits intact.
23. The EEA is not ideal and in the future we would seek to evolve the agreement but it beats a basic FTA that would cause a cliff edge and hurt our trade in ways we can't recover from. No FTAs can compensate for leaving EEA.
24. It will take a long time to evolve our Efta-EEA position but it will be better than the version Norway has and we can even improve it for Norway. Brexit was always going to be more of a process than an event. Mrs May is trying to do it all at once which is why she is failing.
25. Some more thoughts on EEA relationship...…
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