Briton drafts 'Brexit' blueprint: UK can join EFTA

  
Anti-EU propaganda. UK, 2009. [flouriebassingbourn/Flickr]

Britain's economy could grow by 1.3 billion pounds if it left the European Union due to less regulation and more trade with emerging economies, acccording to a British diplomat who dreamt up a blueprint for the country's EU exit.

Britain's free market Institute of Economic Affairs on Tuesday awarded a 100,000-euro prize to Iain Mansfield, a British diplomat based in the Philippines, who it decided had come up with the best proposal for a 'Brexit,' a British departure from the EU.

Amid widespread public disenchantment in Britain about the EU's perceived over-bearing role in everyday life, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to give Britons a referendum on leaving the EU in 2017 if he is re-elected next year.

Many opinion polls suggest a slim majority would vote to leave the 28-nation bloc, and that the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) is on course to come first or second in elections to the European Parliament next month.

Mansfield said Britain could join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to avoid bureaucratic burdens on business linked to Britain's membership of the EU, saying it could position itself as somewhere between Switzerland and Turkey, neither of which are EU member states.

Mansfield, director of trade and investment at the British Embassy in Manila, argued that significantly fewer regulations, coupled with greater trade with emerging economies, could provide a real boost for Britain's economy.

If Britain, one of the EU's net budget contributors, left the bloc, it could reallocate the money it saved on contributions to pay down its deficit to enjoy a 10-billion pound surplus, he said.

"I take no position on whether a Brexit is desirable, but in the event of such a decision by the people of Britain, my paper sets out a course of action that would maximise the potential for an open, prosperous and globally engaged UK," Mansfield said after his win.

Economic incentives from an EU exit would include a reduction in the rate of corporation tax, the creation of special economic zones in poorer regions, and a rise in the research and development tax credit for new investors, he said.

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Comments

Gerry's picture

Britain position itself somewhere between Switzerland and Turkey?... The UK does not belong anywhere near the Swiss, with their direct democracy experiment, but should identify with Turkey instead, at the other extreme end!

Barry's picture

The Swiss are hardly experimenting with direct democracy, it is a well tried and tested and good system. It did after all start in the 13th century and was honed in the 19th century, it is long past the experimental stage. Not surprisingly giving the people more say works. Economically there are 17 trading blocs around the world, but only one claims the need for ever closer union, and which one is working the worst, the one wasting money on unnecessary political union. Turkey are in a better trading relationship with the eussr than Britain is.

Eleanor's picture

Useless projects of some useless mad people....100,000-euro prize? Wow, good for him. Bought some residential holiday house? Whatever....what a waste of 100 000 euro...

A Londoner's picture

What strikes me is how small the supposed savings from exit are. His mid estimate is £1.3bn whilst the UK gdp is of the order of £1660 bn so we would save less than 0.1%. To achieve that would require an enormous amount of negotiation and would anger many of our allies. Given that we are out of the Euro, which was a real danger, it hardly seems worth it just to be free of the absurd posturings of the federalists in the EP.

an european's picture

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) requires free mouvements of people !
"Mansfield said Britain could join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to avoid bureaucratic burdens on business linked to Britain's membership of the EU"

What Mansfiel want is Impossible !!!

Cameron said full in or full out ! But not between !

an european's picture

@Barry

Directdemocracy ..well that's depend but of course after swiss politicians agreed they made a hughe mistake ignorin' the agreements of EFTA!

Of course Barry you are ukip's cheating air out the anus !
For you i wish Britland should leave the Euroland !
You Londoncity will be onto Eurocity !
Can't wait anymore !

El Pluribus Unum

Iwantout's picture

Membership of the EEA via EFTA would allow full membership of the single market together with all EU negotiated trade deals with the following implications if the Norwegian experience is taken as an indication.

Drop in UK payments to EU by at least 55% although this figure could be much higher if the UK decided not to opt into a number of EU projects that the Norwegians wanted to join.

Drop in EU regulations applicable to UK, as of January 2011 100,000+ EU instructions applied to the UK. 4,179 applied to EFTA. Such EU regulations that do apply to the UK would be limited to trade not social policy, justice etc. In addition these regulations would impact only on goods which are actually going to the EU. Therefore companies that do not trade with the EU would be entirely free of all EU regulation with consequent drop in costs.

UK would regain complete control of its own tax regime e.g. VAT.

Maintained influence on new EU laws through comitology process and EEA joint / Parliamentary committees.

Drop in corruption, EFTA accounts have been signed off every year, the EUs were last signed off in…. can anyone help me here with a date ?

EFTA states are entirely outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

EFTA states are able to negotiate their own trade deals with any other state without EU. EFTA have currently got free trade deals with an additional 680m people outside the EU. EFTA will additionally secure benefits of TTIP if it ever happens and anyway can negotiate such a deal independently if required. Unlike EU countries, EFTA states in addition have full independent representation in all World bodies such as WTO etc.

Return to UK national control of UK fishing grounds in line with UN protocols. Roughly 70% of current EU fishing grounds.

The benefits just keep on coming.

Overall the Swiss have an even better deal (EU costs approx. 16.1% of what UK pays and even fewer EU regulations in place etc), but it has taken then many years to negotiate such a deal.

As ‘An European’ correctly notes, membership of EFTA does require free movement of people. However with the ability to entirely limit our relationship with the EU to trade alone I do not believe such freedom will be as contentious as it currently is.

All in all it seems to be exactly what most of us have been asking for.

Sébastien Platon's picture

"Membership of the EEA via EFTA would allow full membership of the single market together with all EU negotiated trade deals with the following implications if the Norwegian experience is taken as an indication".
Legally speaking it is not that simple, it depends whether or not EU has an exclusive competence on those treaties. In short, if UK leaves, it won't be a Party anymore to every treaty to which EU is exclusively a party. That may include WTO membership, Open skies agreements, etc.

"Drop in UK payments to EU by at least 55% although this figure could be much higher if the UK decided not to opt into a number of EU projects that the Norwegians wanted to join."
Where did you get those figures? Does it include the British Rebate? You have to consider net contribution only after the rebate, otherwise it just doesn't make sense.

"Drop in EU regulations applicable to UK, as of January 2011 100,000+ EU instructions applied to the UK. 4,179 applied to EFTA. Such EU regulations that do apply to the UK would be limited to trade not social policy, justice etc. In addition these regulations would impact only on goods which are actually going to the EU. Therefore companies that do not trade with the EU would be entirely free of all EU regulation with consequent drop in costs".
89% of EU legislation apply to EFTA members. The only thing is that they don't get to vote for it: they are merely asked for their opinion. If a matter is contentious, their vote will not count. Plus, how do you seriously assess the "cost" of regulation? When a regulation about the manufacturing of a good is made in order to allow you to sell this good anywhere in EU, it may be costly at the beginning to adapt, but if you get to make more business, the balance is eventually positive.

"UK would regain complete control of its own tax regime e.g. VAT".
EU has very limited tax powers, every tax legislation requires unanimity. You say "e. g. VAT" as if it was an example, but can you give another one? Plus, EU legislation on VAT lets a wide margin of appreciation for each country in terms of rates.

"Maintained influence on new EU laws through comitology process and EEA joint / Parliamentary committees".
You wish. As I said, EFTA members merely give opinions on draft EU legislation. They do not vote.

"Drop in corruption, EFTA accounts have been signed off every year, the EUs were last signed off in…. can anyone help me here with a date ?"
Where did you get that???? The implementation of EU Budget is checked by the independant European Court of Auditors!

"EFTA states are entirely outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ".
But they are entirely within the jurisdiction of the EFTA Court, which case-law mainly sticks to ECJ case-law because of the homogeneity provisions.

"EFTA states are able to negotiate their own trade deals with any other state without EU. EFTA have currently got free trade deals with an additional 680m people outside the EU. EFTA will additionally secure benefits of TTIP if it ever happens and anyway can negotiate such a deal independently if required. Unlike EU countries, EFTA states in addition have full independent representation in all World bodies such as WTO etc."
"an additional 680m people outside the EU"? Really? EU has tons of trade agreements. Plus, economic figures are that every country makes the most part of their business with the "big rich neighbours", not with China or God knows who. Plus, if you think you are strong enough to negociate a position as good as the one you would get with the whole of european market behind you, knock yourselves out, but apparently, Obama begs to differ.

"Return to UK national control of UK fishing grounds in line with UN protocols. Roughly 70% of current EU fishing grounds".
Well of course, if what you want is to destroy fish resources, I can't argue with that.

"As ‘An European’ correctly notes, membership of EFTA does require free movement of people. However with the ability to entirely limit our relationship with the EU to trade alone I do not believe such freedom will be as contentious as it currently is".
I just don't understand this argument. Freedom of persons will be less contentious because you can limit it? It goes both ways.

Eurobrat's picture

Stop messing with #Brexit. Listen to @theEconomist & learn about the true benefits of #Brentry http://goo.gl/ZCoc6i

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