The economy and immigration are the key Brexit issues, according to MPs and Ipsos MORI research*

With Britain leaving the EU, what are the UK’s options if it wants…
Norwegian option Norway option Brexit
Pros and cons of Britain following a Norway model after Brexit

The Scandinavian country is part of the European Economic Area (EEA). If Britain follows this model, it will:

Maintain considerable (but not complete) tariff- and quota-free access to the EU, including most goods

Have independence over fisheries and farming policies

Retain barrier-free access to the EU for services, a sector that makes up a large part of the British economy. The UK, for instance, currently enjoys “passporting rights”, which allows financial companies to offer services throughout the single market while only following one set of regulations

But Britain will have to:

Agree to the free movement of people within the EU

Make significant contributions to the EU budget

Follow the majority of single market laws (without much power to influence them)

Swiss option Switzerland model Brexit
Pros and cons of Britain following a Switzerland model after Brexit

The landlocked country has a European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) with the EU and also has bilateral deals, negotiating preferential access to the single market sector by sector. If Britain follows this model, it will:

Have tariff- and quota-free access to the single market in non-agricultural goods

Have limited access to trade in services, but some sectors such as financial services won’t be covered

Be largely not bound by EU legal rulings, although in practice UK legislation will align with some EU laws

But Britain will have to:

Wait many years to sign a Swiss-like deal — all those bilateral agreements will be devilishly tricky to ratify as they’ll have to be signed off by the 27 remaining member states

Agree to the free movement of people

Say au revoir to the financial sector’s “passporting rights” (See Norwegian option)

Contribute to the EU budget to cover the costs of programmes it participates in

Turkish option Turkey model Brexit
Pros and cons of Britain following a Turkey model after Brexit

This country straddling Europe and Asia has a customs union with the EU. If Britain follows this model, it will:

Be able to export industrial and processed agricultural goods to the EU tariff free

Have no obligation to accept free movement of people

Have independence over agricultural policy

Not be bound by EU legal rulings

But Britain will have to:

Accept the EU’s external tariffs and free-trade agreements without having any influence in how those deals are negotiated

Say au revoir to the financial sector’s “passporting rights” (See Norwegian option)

Comply with single market product standards and technical requirements without having a say in setting them

Canadian option Canada model Brexit
Pros and cons of Britain following a Canada model after Brexit

Canada and the EU have signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta), but it still has to be ratified by numerous national and regional parliaments. If Britain follows this model, it will:

Have tariff-free access to 98% of EU goods, including industrial and fisheries products

Be free to broker other trade deals

Have no obligation to accept free movement of people

Have no contribution to the EU budget

Not be bound by EU legal rulings

But Britain will have to:

Comply with restrictions on some agricultural produce, such as chicken and eggs

Wait a long time to sign a Ceta-like deal — it took seven years to negotiate

Comply with single market product standards and technical requirements without having any say in setting them

Say au revoir to the financial sector’s “passporting rights” (See Norwegian option)

WTO option WTO model Brexit
Pros and cons of Britain following a WTO model after Brexit

If Britain was unable to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the EU, it could do business with the bloc under the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime, as do countries such as New Zealand. If Britain follows this model, it will:

Have no obligation to accept free movement of people

Be free to broker other trade deals

Have no contribution to the EU budget

Not be bound by EU legal rulings

But Britain will have to:

Accept EU tariff on goods exported to the single market, which are significant in sectors such as agriculture and cars. British exporters to the EU will face average levies of about 10% on vehicles, a figure that rises to more than 35% on dairy produce, according to Bloomberg

Say au revoir to the financial sector’s “passporting rights” (See Norwegian option)

Comply with single market product standards and technical requirements without having any say in setting them

Is there a way to gain preferential access to the single market and control immigration? Sort of…
Liechtenstein model of EU membership

The German-speaking 25km-long principality between Austria and Switzerland is an EEA member (like Norway) and has some control over the free movement of people. But Britain’s 64 million citizens are unlikely to be offered such a deal.

Tiny Liechtenstein — population 37,000 — is of little significance to the free-movement workings of the EU’s 510 million residents. The UK will have to look elsewhere for a solution.

*Click for details of Ipsos MORI research

Issues important to EU voting Ipsos MORI poll

About

Brexit Options is written by a national newspaper journalist. The chart is an introduction to the options facing Britain following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Feedback is welcome — but please bear in mind that the site aims to be an easily digestible overview of a process that is frightfully complex.

Email: info@brexitoptions.co.uk

Useful resources
Financial Times
Bloomberg
UK Cabinet Office policy paper
Ipsos MORI

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