What is the benefit of EEA over EU?

(18 Posts)
3amEternal Sun 03-Jul-16 07:41:39

Just wondering why some countries have opted for this over full EU membership as it appears this is a likely option for us. All I keep hearing is all the costs with fewer benefits. But there must be some, no?

missmoon Sun 03-Jul-16 07:51:02

Political, you can claim to be out while actually being in. I've heard this from Icelandic friends, being in the EEA is compromise that works well for them, quite a few people in Iceland worry that being in the EU would "swallow them up" and they would lose their identity etc. It does mean that they have no say on policies and regulations, while still paying in to the EU budget.

iisme Sun 03-Jul-16 07:56:43

As far as I can tell, it's exactly the same except you don't get a voice or any inward investment. Maybe it's cheaper?

Worrying about losing your identity and getting swallowed up sounds more like propaganda than a genuine concern.

I really hope we end up in the EEA - but I can't see how this would appeal to anyone who wanted to leave the EU.

Figmentofmyimagination Sun 03-Jul-16 07:59:09

It was the only form of membership Norway could get past its population in a referendum. It enables you to say you are outside the EU and have maintained your 'sovereignty'.

There is also the hidden benefit that being outside the room and having no say, you don't have to waste valuable resources on employing uk experts to input into the content of directives.

Not sure whether the ECJ has jurisdiction over these countries but if not, it has another hidden benefit in that our Supreme Court will have the final say over important issues of national concern such as whether of not someone should be allowed to carry over their annual leave if they fall ill while on holiday.

Figmentofmyimagination Sun 03-Jul-16 08:14:15

Sorry OP that was facetious and silly of me - I'm not an expert on the EEA - as you can tell from my last post.

I have looked up this Q&A for you, which someone sent me and which you might find useful in explaining the differences - looks like there are e.g. important differences as to fishing and agriculture, and as to our freedom to negotiate other treaties.

eulawanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/what-next-after-uk-vote-to-leave-eu.html

timetobackout Sun 03-Jul-16 12:28:39

The EEA/EFTA is our best route out of the EU. we can have the same access to markets as we have now plus leaving the common agricultural policy. common fisheries policy, exempt from eu vat policy,free from common external tariffs plus most importantly freedom to conduct our own trade deals. We have lots of soft power and historical friends Australia New zealand,Canada India and the US. It is a lot easier to conduct bilateral trade deals than those involving 27 other counties. www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/29/paul-ryan-urges-new-trade-deal-with-the-u-k-but-
As you can see certain voices in the us have already started to talk about it and remember they want us to renew our trident programme and maintain the 2% of GDP on defence spending, it is in their interest to help us succeed economically.
To extract ourselves from the EU after 40 years requires negotiations over a whole range of issues, this provides a template to start from. The reason leave didn't have a plan is that some on the Leave side, Gove Fox and now apparently Leadsom don't want this, they want to leave at any cost trading on WTO rules as they propose would be an economic disaster.
In my opinion the above deal is better than we have now, but what of the drawbacks.
First. We have to pay in but have no say in framing the rules.
A common misconception is that the EU makes the rules, in fact the EU in a lot of cases is adopting rules made at a world level.If you are making grommets to sell you want to do that around the world not just the EU so it makes no sense to have an eu standard and a world standard. For example I heard Cameron illustrating this point specifically mention electric cars. He was misinformed, electric car standards and indeed all automotive standards come from UNECE(United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) and just adopted by the EU.
So Norway has a seat at that table despite having no car industry at all. Similarly the abolition of roaming charges originally came from the International Telecommunications Union. We will regain our seat on this and a host of other global bodies.There are regular meetings between the eu and the eea so we still can influence matters to some degree but obviously not like now, however a lot of proposals we have objected to have involved further political integration and will no longer be any of our concern,indeed the logic of the euro demands further integration the present policy of transfer of funds from the north to the south cannot cotinue.FInally by the latest count Norway has only adopted 4957 out of 23076 laws in force- 21%.
Second . We will have to pay in, there will be a saving but how much is for negotiation. There are plenty of programmes we want to be a part of the horizon scientific programme, the ERASMUS university exchange programme etc.Can I just make one point that the EU funding that comes back to this country often does not fund projects in their entirety but is just one part of the total funding from central government.
Third immigration is obviously the most contentious issue, people often say the EU will insist on the free movement for all of the above, they may be right but like everyone else they don't know the future, but even if there are no limitations we are no worse off than we are now, it then becomes a political problem the referendum said in or out nothing else. But there are other scenarios, although in no way shape or form am I comparing us to Lithuania that country does not accept free movement so the principle is not sacrosanct. Norway has an emergency brake over immigration(although never applied)
Brussels is known as the capital of compromise it is not unreasonable to believe a deal or form of words can be struck that both sides can live with.
Finally we have got off the EU train, joining the EEA gives us the starting point to decide where to go in the future, not as end inself.other countries have the same concerns as us we have the ability to decide our own democratic response to furthger events.

timetobackout Sun 03-Jul-16 12:32:49

sorry shoud read Lichenstein not Lithuania.

whirlwinds Sun 03-Jul-16 12:42:03

You forgot that the Norwegians don't want the UK in their ranks. Having the UK in is currently not in their best interest.

3amEternal Sun 03-Jul-16 12:45:22

So we're already in the EEA right? We just need to come out of EU? Seems like a compromise.

timetobackout Sun 03-Jul-16 12:53:00

www.thelocal.no/20160628/norway-pm-wont-commit-to-uk-joining-efta

Norway has not said it is in there best interests,they have not decided.

timetobackout Sun 03-Jul-16 12:54:56

We in the eea not efta that Norway is talking about.

iisme Sun 03-Jul-16 17:29:46

3am - we're in the EEA because we're in the EU. When we leave the EU, we have to rejoin the EEA as an independent country. It's not a given that we'll be allowed to do this, and the terms under which this happens will be up for negotiation. I'd be very surprised if we're allowed to do this without having freedom of movement.

timetobackout Sun 03-Jul-16 17:52:58

If we rejoin EFTA then we would be back in the EEA, but of course the terms we trade with the EU would still have to be negotiated, Switzerland is in the EEA and EFTA but has different terms than Norway. There would be a British option, the Norway model is commonly used as a guide to the terms that a european nation outside the EU could expect and a rough template on which talks might commence.

ManonLescaut Sun 03-Jul-16 18:15:27

None. You have full access to the single market. But you have the EU single market regulations, which have to be passed as national law, without having any say in them; you have contribute to the EU budget - Norway pays €100 per capita while we pay €180 for full EU membership (approximate figures); and you have to accept free movement of EU migrants. You don't have a seat in Brussels to influence EU policy.

As a Norwegian minister said:

'If you want to run the EU stay in the EU, if you want to be run by the EU, feel free to join us'

Switzerland pays less but it doesn't have full access to the single market, for example it doesn't have passporting rights which are crucial to UK financial services.

We would no doubt negotiate our own version, but thus far the EU has been clear: single market means freedom of movement.

The deal we have now is far better than Norway or Switzerland's.

tiggytape Sun 03-Jul-16 18:34:28

Liechtenstein is a member of the EEA but also has a quota system for immigration under so called sectoral adaptations
Therefore some people are looking towards a Liechtenstein-type "cake and eat it" solution for the UK too

The flip side of that is that it took years for them to get that agreement, it started off as a trial period and they only eventually got it as part of the EEA amendments last year. The other problem is of course we are so much larger and the rest of the EU are bound to object to us having the same sort of special allowances that a tiny nation arguably needs.

The reason it has been mentioned recently though is that it sets a precedent. It isn't totally impossible to be a member of the EEA and to also impose immigration restrictions.

MangoMoon Sun 03-Jul-16 18:46:07

Nothing to add, just getting on this thread to learn from others!

ManonLescaut Sun 03-Jul-16 19:11:54

Anyone looking for 'cake and eat it solutions' should check out Switzerland. They have partial access to the single market (which wouldn't work for us, particularly as they don't have the passporting rights crucial to our financial services), and the EU free movement of migrants that goes with that.

They had a referendum on controlling immigration which the yays won by 0.6% a couple of years ago. After 2 years of negotiations, and the suspension of EU funding of Swiss universities worth €100s of millions, the EU is absolutely clear Switzerland will lose single market access if they impose controls on free movement.

There are various ideas still on the table (afa the Swiss are concerned) such as imposing quotas in industries or areas where unemployment is above average. Whether they would ever be accepted is debatable, as quotas are not compatible with the original EU agreement.

Girlgonewild Sun 03-Jul-16 19:30:37

It can be our sop to the only just over 50% of voters who went for Brexit so is better than nothing. It's the best of all the remaining options.

There is an article 112 or something like that in the EEA agrrement which might allow some fixed quots for immigrants if the Brexiters really think they want to stop people coming here.

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