The clock is ticking – but the sun hasn’t set for the Norway option

Recent statements by ministers highlight how the UK is woefully unprepared the end of the transition period. Unless there are some monumental changes to the terms of the deal currently being negotiated with the EU, it is beyond doubt that leaving both the Single Market and Customs Union at the same time means major business disruption and traffic chaos in 2021.

While rejoining the Single Market via EFTA would solve most of these problems, a major hurdle is that it takes time. The accession process will not be completed in three months.

A new paper written by our General Manager, Martin Smith, and longstanding EFTA4UK supporter, Gerard Fox, for the Conservative Group for Europe presents some interesting ideas on how we can avoid the looming chaos – and #MakeBrexitWork.

The paper Reset to Sunset: A Proposal to break the impasse in the UK-EU trade talks makes some interesting suggestions on how both sides can overcome differences in the ongoing negotiations, without forcing the Prime Minister to cave into EU demands.

It proposes a three-pronged approach; a sunset clause in 2024 on any new arrangements; a dynamic adjustment mechanism through which the UK, beginning at status quo, retains the benefits of the Single Market unless and until it diverges from Single Market rules, with the EU able to take steps to protect its internal market; and a dispute resolution mechanism that meets both sides’ concerns. 

If the UK starts the EFTA accession process now, there is ample time before the sunset comes around in 2024.

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‘Reset to Sunset’

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Patrick is a public affairs consultant and lobbyist, and former National Organiser of Conservatives For A People’s Vote. He has a background in international trade consultancy and political development, working with free-market think tanks and governments in Asia. He is an experienced media commentator who has numerous appearances on UK and international TV, including the BBC documentary 'Brexit Storm'.

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