Is there enough time to negotiate a Common Market 2.0 agreement?
Common Market 2.0 would not require any change in the Withdrawal Agreement. A new Political Declaration enshrining a Norway style arrangement as the basis for the UK's future relationship with the EU could be concluded rapidly. The transition ("Implementation Period") would give us the time we would need to finalise and implement the agreement with the EU and the Efta states.
Isn’t it clear that the EU won’t agree to the UK pursuing a Common Market 2.0 arrangement?
No. Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, has always said that a model that combined EEA/Efta and a customs union was one that he would be happy to consider. Common Market 2.0 would preserve frictionless trade and not threaten the EU’s cherished ‘4 freedoms’.
To join the EEA doesn’t the UK have to be a member of the EU or Efta first?
The UK is already a member of the EEA and has not given the necessary 12 months notice of an intention to leave. We would apply to join Efta and the Efta pillar of the EEA.
Is a customs arrangement that preserves no hard border in Ireland compatible with article 56(3) of Efta?
It will involve a derogation from the Efta Agreement that will require the approval of the existing Efta states. Both the Norwegian Prime Minister and the Icelandic Foreign Minister have stated publicly that they would welcome a British application to join Efta and stay in the EEA. Furthermore it would be in their interests to do so. The UK is Norway’s largest export market. We are Iceland’s second largest market.
Will the UK have a unilateral right to leave the EEA/Efta at a time of its own choosing?
Indefinite membership of EEA/Efta and a customs arrangement would be the basis for the UK's future relationship with the EU. Under the EEA Agreement members have the right to withdraw with one year’s notice.
Doesn’t Common Market 2.0 still have the same problems with the Irish backstop as Chequers?
As members of EEA and Efta, with continuity in our current customs and VAT arrangements, there would be no need for any regulatory, customs or VAT checks at any border between the UK and the EU.
What will the border look like under a Common Market 2.0 arrangement?
Michel Barnier has confirmed that what he calls 'Norway Plus' is the only Brexit option that delivers frictionless trade. There would be no need for any new checks at the border.
Will the UK’s immigration policy from Europe change under Common Market 2.0?
If the U.K. enters the Efta pillar of the EEA, workers from elsewhere in the EEA will have the right to work in the U.K. However, the position will be better than the position before Brexit in two ways:
- first, under Article 112 (1) of the EEA Agreement, we will have an ‘emergency brake’ which will allow us to cap migration if events give rise to “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties of a sectorial or regional nature”; and
- second, as a result of the Government’s preparations for Brexit, we are registering all EEA nationals in the UK; we will therefore be in a position to identify any EEA nationals who settle in the U.K. but do not find work within a few months, and will be able to remove them as other EU countries with registration schemes in place already do.
How much money will the UK send to Brussels under Common Market 2.0? Will we still pay a £39bn divorce bill on leaving the EU?
We would sign the draft Withdrawal Agreement so we would honour the £39 billion divorce settlement. As members of the Efta pillar of the EEA we would pay for what we access from Single Market programmes and agencies. This would be substantially less than our contribution as member of the EU.
Doesn’t the Common Market 2.0 arrangement prevent the UK from securing its own trade deals?
To avoid a hard border in Ireland the UK would enter a comprehensive customs arrangement with the EU. When the UK and the EU agree new systems and procedures which remove the need for customs checks at the Irish border, the UK will be free to sign trade deals with third parties or become a party to Efta's existing free trade agreements.
How long would Common Market 2.0 last?
Indefinitely. A Norway style relationship would take the UK out of the EU and maximise our options for the future. There would be no time limit on our membership but nor could the UK be kept in the EEA against our will.