Policy Paper: Alternatives to membership: possible models for the United Kingdom outside the European Union

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details March 2016
Publication Date March 2016
ISBN 978-1-4741-2943-5
Content Type

This paper is the first part of the report that the United Kingdom government will publish to meet requirements in the European Union Referendum Act 2015. The second part of this report, which will provide information about the rights and obligations of the UK’s membership of the EU, will be published at a later date.

The paper looked at a number of possible alternatives for the UK’s relationship with the EU, if there were to be a vote to leave. It provided examples of countries that are not members of the EU but have other arrangements with it, specifically Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Turkey. It also looks at a possible relationship based only on World Trade Organisation membership. It set out the main features and implications of each of the key existing models for the relationship, and assesses their suitability for the UK.

The government believed that no existing models outside the EU can provide the same advantages and influence that are got from the UK’s current status inside the EU. The government concluded in an official that Britain would be 'weaker, less safe and worse off' if it left the European Union.

However, Iain Duncan Smith, one of five cabinet ministers campaigning in favour of a vote to leave the EU, said the report misrepresented the Leave case by suggesting Britain could follow the example of other non-EU countries, such as Norway or Switzerland.

He said: 'The truth is, we won't copy any other country's deal. We will have a settlement on our own terms - and one that will return control of our borders, and money to Britain. That's the safer choice'.

Source Link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/alternatives-to-membership-possible-models-for-the-united-kingdom-outside-the-european-union
Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union http://www.europeansources.info/record/brexit-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union/
ESO: Background information: PM's statement following Cabinet meeting on EU settlement: 20 February 2016 http://www.europeansources.info/record/pms-statement-following-cabinet-meeting-on-eu-settlement-20-february-2016/
GOV.UK: Prime Minister's Office: Speech, 23.02.16: PM speech at O2 on the EU referendum: 23 February 2016 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-o2-on-the-eu-referendum-23-february-2016
GOV.UK: Prime Minister's Office: Policy Paper: The best of both worlds: the United Kingdom's special status in a reformed European Union, February 2016 http://www.europeansources.info/record/the-best-of-both-worlds-the-united-kingdoms-special-status-in-a-reformed-european-union/
ESO: Background information: Policy Paper: The process for withdrawing from the European Union (Cm 9216) http://www.europeansources.info/record/policy-paper-the-process-for-withdrawing-from-the-european-union-cm-9216/
The Guardian, 02.03.16: Four alternatives to EU membership rejected by the government http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/02/alternatives-to-eu-membership-government-dossier-key-points
BBC News, 02.03.16: EU referendum: Government dossier aims to 'smoke out' Leave campaign http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35702832
Politico, 02.03.16: A long, costly and messy divorce http://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-eu-divorce-uk-cameron/
Blog: Open Europe, 02.03.16: Nothing comes for free inside or outside the EU http://openeurope.org.uk/today/blog/4414/
Chatham House: Video, 02.03.16: What Do the Alternatives to EU Membership Look Like? https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/what-do-alternatives-eu-membership-look
Spiegel Online International, 11.06.16: Post-Withdrawal Britain: Why the Swiss Model Wouldn't Work for the UK http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/brexit-britain-and-the-switzerland-and-norway-models-a-1096952.html

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