Just how ‘cheaply’ can a #Brexit be achieved?

This diagram illustrates the reason I’m struggling to find any real meaning in the current Brexit debate. It’s worth too considering that Switzerland voted more than two years ago to renegotiate the deal it has with the EU to close the door on mass immigration. 

Thus far there has been little or no progress on the matter. You will notice there’s been a lot of shouting and a lot of demagogic simplification, but little careful examination of the nature of the alternative to full membership. 

  • Celtlaw

    I’m confused. I see no upside to Norway’s and Switzerland’s positions vis-a-vis the European Union. Can someone enlighten me on what Norway and/or Switzerland believe is better by their option(s) vice full membership.

  • Angry Mob

    The thing worth noting is that the remain side says if we leave the Norway option is what they will pursue to keep us in the single market. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36457120

    So obviously for them to even contemplate it, it must be the path of least resistance.

    I posted this post as below before in response to someone else’s query so I’ll copy and paste:

    1) The pay for access half truth.
    It is true we would have to pay to retain access, but significantly less. The figure you use I assume includes the grants Norway gives through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants which are not part of the EU budget which would artificially inflate your figure.

    Between the period of 2007-13 EU spending was €70 billion, the EFTA contributed approximately €1.7 billion, an average of about €250 million a year in which Norway contributed 95.77% so that equates to €1.63 billion.
    So far so good.

    Now, that’s the gross figure, much like the £18 billion a year bandied about which is incorrect. Norway receives money back through the various EU programmes it is involved with for activities such as scientific research. That actual net contribution worked out about €90 million a year.
    In addition there are EFTA contributions which are not paid to the EU. In 2014 Norway paid 22,360,000 Swiss Francs which is about £16 million. In the UK on a pro-rata basis this would cost the UK less than £100 million per year.

    From this if we were to calculate the UK’s costs based upon GDP with an economy five times bigger than Norway, we would pay about £2.5 billion gross or a net figure of £1.8 billion.

    I should however clarify that if our current net contribution to the EU is approximately £9 billion, upon brexit we would however become liable for other measures such as CAP and other commitments so we won’t actually be ~£7.2 billion better off.

    So yes we do pay, but significantly less. The Norwegian option is an interim solution to safely navigate withdrawal from the EU, given time this figure could be further reduced as we begin the real renegotiations.

    2) Abide by EU’s rules half truth.
    The EU acquis comprises of approximately 21,000 legislative acts in force and as you point out the single market comprises of about 6000. (The ~6000 is what we have to comply with for continued market access.)

    No matter what world market you go to you will have to conform to legislation. Much of these acts relate to things such as food standards, product conformity, packing standards etc. So no matter what agreement we opt for we will need to conform in order to trade. If something however was unacceptable we could veto legislation but we would lose market access for that particular item for non-conformity.

    3) The no say half truth.
    The only truth in this is we wouldn’t vote at the EU level. This point in particular shows the ignorance from those who spout it as to how most legislation is actually made today; through the act of globalisation.
    The increasing majority of legislation is made at an international level by various international bodies. Here Norway and other sovereign nations have the ability to chair, have full voting rights, the right to abstain and veto rights. This means that Norway effectively has more say than any individual EU member state as they directly work on drafting legislation.

    This legislation is then simply handed down to the EU who make reference to it so much so that the EU is going through old legislation that it passed and replacing it with references to new global legislation that supersedes is.
    However there are also various systems in place that give the EFTA formal consultation before any single market legislation is introduced such as the EEA Council, EEA Joint Committee etc so evidently they do actually have a say.

    Furthermore under the right of reservation in Article 102 of the EEA Agreement EFTA countries in the EEA have the right to opt out of new EU legislation, a right that EU countries do not have.
    As for the UK and other member states veto rights; post the Lisbon treaty any new legislation that comes forth this right has been done away with and furthermore through the EU REFIT program the EU Commission is updating pre-Lisbon legislation, allowing it to eliminate the veto entirely

    In addition, under article 112-113 of the EEA treaty the EEA states outside the EU have access to the emergency brake measure which Lichenstein has used successfully in the past to prevent free movement and Iceland used it during its banking crisis to suspend the freedom of capital which stopped money being withdrawn from the country and ensured a speedy recovery.

  • Hmm I`m not sure that diagram is correct re freedom of movement for the Turkey / Canada model. Also only the 6% of UK businesses that trade with the EU would be bound by EU law, freeing the other 94% from red tape

  • Declan Doyle

    With the latest referendum poll showing Leave ten points ahead, the Remain camp better get their act together

  • mickfealty

    Charts are flying about the net. This one is from Labour MEP Richard Corbett, on comparitors costs…

  • mickfealty

    Better go and check yer EU passport Declan? 10 points is exactly in the zone.

  • Chingford Man

    Congratulations to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson on his knighthood.

  • Korhomme

    Switzerland has been a neutral state from before the time of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; this was confirmed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Swiss remain very independent; they didn’t join the UN until quite recently. The sovereign – the people – have voted against joining the EU; the executive then had to negotiate bilateral trade treaties. (Swiss companies had set up satellites in France and Germany, just over the borders, to assist trade.)

    The UK isn’t really comparable to Switzerland; it’s not neutral, even if the mentality is rather independent. If there’s a Brexit, terms for then applying for a trading agreement with the EU aren’t likely to be particularly advantageous, or similar to what the Swiss negotiated.

  • Declan Doyle

    I have both so I am good anyway tnks 😉

  • Declan Doyle

    Listen, you may fasten your seatbelf and baton down the hatches because the next two weeks are gonna be hell on earth. Every divil in the pit is gonna be throwing their stones in every direction hoping to hit target. Here in Ireland we can only hope that sense prevails after the ref no matter how it turns out. Scare-mongering aside, all decisions have a consequence or two; the economics can always be unravelled but a collapse of the UK can never be undone.

  • mickfealty


  • Declan Doyle

    No, break up of the UK.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Mick, it must be an English thing to worry about immigration or rather mass immigration, because there’s none of it over here. Many politicans who complain about migration and votes for being angry end up as “tax refugees” like many of the rest of them.

    There’s unemployment, but that’s not interchangeable with the term mass migration.

    One bit of frank honesty was Thresea Villiers plan to deal with migration in this island, keep the border open, don’t allow certain public services … of course this may have reprisals in the European Union and Republic of Ireland where access to public services are limited for Brittish people too.

    Basically border checks are useless in the Conservative government’s opinion anyway, because illegal entryism that escapes the airports and seaports is going to be punished by forced vagrancy anyway.

  • mickfealty

    It is Kevin. The languages spoken by parents at one small English Catholic Primary I know particularly well range from Polish, to French, Spanish, German, Romanian, Brazilian Portuguese and Italian. And I mean in numbers.

    Increase in migrants in NI has been a welcome development since the end of the Troubles right across NI. But it’s not an issue because the numbers are small and we’re less than a generation in.

    It would ill suit us to be too glib about it though since we are still struggling with integration in our ow historical immigration issues.

  • mickfealty

    Dream on.

  • chrisjones2

    I saw a figure recently that 16% of Dubliners were now born outside Ireland. The issue may also not be mass immigration – we may well need migrants to make up for drops in our own birthrates – but their grouping in some specific areas that can over whelm local services and cause disquiet.

  • chrisjones2

    For once we agree…and it looks mkore and more like Brexit.

    Even the EU focus is shifting to post Brexit and the danger of more defections with Schäuble musing that they would need to stop more defections and back pedal on the whole united Europe project which is only popular with Junker

  • mickfealty

    For me that speaks to the drag in building houses and infrastructure. Competition for resources is intense in places. And there’s very little strategy to rebalance against the capital and its economic overspill in SE England.

  • Declan Doyle

    Really? I wouldn’t be too confident there

  • Declan Doyle

    Are u not at all concerned that brexit might trigger another Scottish indy ref?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Have you seen what Craig and De Valera did within Ireland to integrate everyone into their own narcissistic version of Brittishness and Irishness respectively?

    If it actually worked we would never have major community protest groups like the DUP, PUP, Fianna Fáil, and Provisional Sinn Féin.

    We are seeing the Ulsterisation maybe Hibernification of elements of English politics, fear of other languages including Welsh, fear of new science, fear of the new and fear of the strange which ultimately is what xenophobia is, it is a fear of the strange. I’m afraid of the strange too, but I can’t let that get the better of me because I would rather be wrong and learn from my mistakes, than self righteous and learn nothing.

    Even English regional cultures won’t be safe, if the goal is to have some automatic understanding of your neighbours without having to discover their differences and individuality.

    My belief is there are sections in middle class areas particularly in the media and politics more afraid of the pressure strangers put on their egos, than working class people are.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Economics is going to exist, likewise the need to be economical and resourceful but why must productive migrants be the martyrs of our own wastefulness, our own waistlines, our own greed, our selfishness, our need for vindication from everyone. Qatar has no resources but oil, yet its population doubles in 25 years due to migration and it is the richest country in the world due to Western demand.

    Remember the solution to the Irish Famine drain on resources, let the Irish die. Now Ireland faces obesity. By extreme Malthusian law, native Irish people should faced extinction. All the food, infrastructure and amenities were totally exhausted to breaking point and only extreme population control would fix it. At the same time GB had an industrial revolution, and population boom.

    We waste that oil, we don’t even want to recycle plastic or anything, we worry about Malthusian effects but we are among the richest, most selfish people, most unproductive people and highest consumers on the planet and the most dependent on the labours of other people. We want more material goods from exploitation made outside of Europe. How many people buy fair trade, how many middle class people help their working class neighbours who are unrelated get jobs?

    It’s not even Darwinist, it’s survival of the fattest attitude that the West lives by. No wonder there’s so much loathing of Europe, Nous Sommes L’Europe!

  • scepticacademic

    Yes. the diagram is highly misleading – there is nothing in the CETA about free movement in the sense of the principle of free movement within the EU at present. The only chapter on movement relates to temporary movement for business purposes. There will be no reciprocal right to live and work in the other place for Canadian and EU citizens. Likewise, the ‘bound by EU laws’ will only apply to Canadian businesses trading in the EU surely? It’s not helpful when so-called experts cloud the debate with inaccurate ‘facts’.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nonsense, there is disquiet in almost monoethnic regions, that proves otherwise by contradiction. Even in Northern Ireland, unionist upon unionist political arguements, nationalist upon nationalist arguements and in England, blue on blue squabbles between near likeminded Etonian Tories.

    Dublin thing I can believe, but that city was a Viking City, ruled by English inhabited by Gael and Saxon alike. Immigration isn’t new there.

    It is easy to inspire nationalities, religions, cultures, ideologies and languages to divide even the smallest communities.

    I like to think of it being that time, when Them and Us is not enough, further division of Us into Them Usums and Us Usums is needed for those who want freedom from diversity. Was there somehow no public sector problems when immigration was low? Did the NHS have access to the best global medicines and medical technology they could have got back in the 1950’s outside of the EEC?

    Why do people so sold on the idea diversity causes disquiet, when the idea that somehow the company of likeminded people causes inner peace is completely discredited, or at least should be.

    I don’t need foreigners to be angry, and monocultures to be loved, we need to stop thinking narcissism leads to compassion, restraint, grace, self control, self discipline and anger management. Human action, not Human conformity ensures that.

  • Angry Mob

    I think the SNP will look for any convenient excuse for another independence referendum regardless of the outcome of the vote.

    If the facile warnings we have heard regarding borders and customs with Ireland do actually materialise it may not be as appealing to Scotland to leave the (UK) union with its largest trading partner to then have to join as a new member and adopt the €.

  • Angry Mob

    In addition to scepticacademics comment they also get a few other points wrong.

    “Become a member of the EEA”
    We already are a member, the EEA is more commonly known as the common market.

    The “facts” they have pointed out for most cases are wrong. It is completely wrong to assert that Norway and Switzerland have no say in shaping the laws, because they do. The other points I have pointed out are lying by omission.

    The also call the Norway option the EEA option when its actually the EEA/EFTA option and Switzerland is the EFTA & bilateral option.

    So if I needed a law firm in a hurry I don’t think I would be using Square One Law if this is the standard of their work.

  • Declan Doyle

    They may not have to join as a new member, they may just continue on as the rest of the UK breaks off.

  • Angry Mob

  • Pasty

    That’s a very nice chart Mick. Exactly How Much Money in Euro’s, £ or Canadian $ is Canada contributing to the EU Budget? Do you really believe that Canada is bound by all EU Laws ? and since when has Canada agreed to the free movement of EU Citizens ? I would agree they have no say in setting EU Law but then EU Law is not North American Law.

  • Korhomme

    Another difference between UK and Switzerland is this. Switzerland was never in the EU and applied for “associate” membership from outside. If the UK chooses to leave the EU, then any application for “associate” status will be from a country which voluntarily left. So the UK might try to get back “in” but on UK’s terms – cherry picking.

    I can just imagine what the response of any committed EU country to such a scenario would be [expletives deleted].

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: One bit of frank honesty was Thresea Villiers plan to deal with migration in this island, keep the border open, don’t allow certain public services … of course this may have reprisals in the European Union and Republic of Ireland where access to public services are limited for Brittish people too.
    That wouldn’t apply to Republic of Ireland citizens, who have rights in the UK well in advance of, and independent of, the rights granted to other EU citizens. There are some reciprocal rights for British citizens in the RoI. Again – not depending on the EU.
    Polish or Portuguese citizens who find unemployment or other hardship in Northern Ireland without public services would have an easy option – cross the border.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh Reader, you are being naive about this.

    We’ve heard the dog whistle from McNarry that a Polish or even a non-EU doctor who gets a parking ticket should be deported upon a Brexit … it was hyperbolic then as what you are saying to me now. The economics of that overreaction is questionable given that the UK will be losing money every time it did that.

    The fact of the matter is that if the UK wants to have the best of Polish and Portuguese people coming in, some degree of social protection has to be in place as already exists in bi-lateral arrangements with non-EU countries. Even use of the European Medical Card by Britons would be in jeopardy.

    So I would doubt the UK is going to be as uncompromising as you want them to be.

    The second assumption is that the nations of European Union will put Westminster rules above its own, and the Republic of Ireland will put Westminster rules above its own.

    This is the flaw of the Brexit argument around sovereignty, assuming other nations including the former colony in the Republic of Ireland will not be able to exercise theirs against them.

    This attitude is bound to leave to a diplomatic nightmare for the UK if it manifests in Brexit negotiations. Diplomacy only works by Give and Take, but the Leave side seems to be Take, Take, Take and not realizing how much they are giving the EU back by destroying their binds of commitments to the UK.

    Anything the UK wants to do to the EU, to the Schengen Area, or to the Republic of Ireland is bound to be met with reciprocity.

  • Reader

    Kevin, you assume too much about my own position. I was dealing entirely with your claims about rules and reprisals.
    So let’s do this properly: Brexiters are divided. Some resent being out-competed by European immigrants; some are quite keen on Polish plumbers but a bit resentful of Romanian Big-Issue sellers. Some maybe don’t like hearing strange languages or accents. Despise some or all of the above, by all means.
    But let’s assume that a post-Brexit government won’t be entirely stupid – they will want skilled labour, and money spenders, and will tolerate existing residents, but no-one else. The rules will be set accordingly. The retaliation will be set pragmatically by the EU powers – mainly Germany and France.
    What about the old red-necked sweaty Brits in Spain? They are spending their pensions in a country with a housing surplus. Spain won’t want rid of them.
    And what about Ireland? Both the UK and Ireland have laws specifically favouring the other country’s citizens; better-than, pre-dating and independent of EU rights. I don’t think either will want to change those rules. But if you think otherwise, which country do you think will make the first move?

  • Kevin Breslin

    No I agree on the one point that Brexit side is divided, more importantly and you will probably agree with me that the UK government is moreso divided.

    We have the Seasonal Workers Agricultural Scheme, a deal by which manual labour from Eastern Europe get a blank cheque to do jobs while they cut benefits to people they can get votes from shouting “Migrants, Migrants, Migrants”. And these labourers can be assured of their jobs, because the UK doesn’t make an effort to help yobs get jobs.

    So I don’t think there is going to be “but no one else” … This is a government that tried to get rid of migrants by driving a van around. There will be refugees, there will be university students if they want to pay the higher rates, there will be criminals … And people in England are going to resent them all.

    With regards to England’s so called money spenders, they aren’t going to get specialist privileges, even if they were allowed to live in Spain, their goods would have to go through customs, they can lie back and think of England while they wait.

    If the CTA or the UK going rough shot over the Republic in the CTA doesn’t want to extend free movement to the entire Schengen area, the entire Schengen region which isn’t France and Germany, but Italy, Spain and other Soverign nations including a few non-EU ones like Switzerland and Norway are likely to act even if it is to pick on Poles, Czechs and Lithuanians.

    We recently heard a Russian politican come out and support Russian fans getting involved in fights for defending the honour of the country, I just wonder how much people in the Leave camp worship English football holigans in the same manner.