Where the position of the UK – in their negotiations with the European Union – are concerned, two ‘papers’ have come to light which appear to have bypassed those with an interest in ‘matters EU’, in that I have seen no reference to them; especially in respect of Brexit and life thereafter.
The first, a paper authored by Rishi Sunak MP (Conservative: Richmond – successor to William Hague) details the ‘supposed’ advantages of ‘Free Ports’ and the trading potential contained therein. It is worth mentioning that Switzerland, being outside the European Union, has a ‘Free Port’ located in Geneva, albeit for works of art and ‘valuables’.
Admittedly this blog has not had the time to research this subject further but if that which Sunak’s paper suggests is true, then this must be an area our Government should be investigating in order to maximize Brexit’s potential?
The second, authored by Michael-James Clifton, chef de cabinet to the President of the EFTA Court (writing in a personal capacity), explains the operation of the EEA and comments on its operation; whilst arriving to the conclusion that an updated version of the EEA Agreement could be a natural home for the UK post Brexit: a solution which could also be in the interests of the EU, EEA/EFTA States; and potentially Switzerland.
In respect of this second article is is worth noting that Clifton is of the opinion that there is no possibility of ‘free-standing’ EEA membership’ (page 8). He also notes that (page 8): a precondition for EEA membership for the UK (outside of the EU) is EFTA membership.
The following positions were expressed at the EFTA Ministerial Meeting of 27 June 2016 in
Berne: The Icelandic Government considered that the members “should invite the UK to join EFTA.” Switzerland stated, “We are basically positive but we shouldn’t be too outspoken here, in order not to anger the European Union.” The Liechtensteiners were also cautious but a bit more positive. The Norwegians had reservations and the Norwegian politicians openly said they may lose the number one position in the EFTA pillar in case of British EEA membership, “and this is not in our interest”. It is unlikely that this is the last word but rather the starting position from the Norwegian Government which softened its position over the summer.
Something else worth reading is a summary of a speech given by Prof. Carl Baudenbacher
President of the EFTA Court at the University of St.Gallen on 20 September 2016. Baudenbacher’s lecture covered aspects of the future possible relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU in finding a relationship that works for all through EFTA and the EEA, as well as the implications and opportunities of Brexit for Switzerland.
In view of all the non-factual claptrap that one reads in our media and espoused by most of our political class I would commend readers to read all the above for which links have been provided.