Theresa May has been appointed Prime Minister today. Many Conservatives doubt she can achieve a satisfactory Brexit deal. May has stressed ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ Here are the best possible outcomes for Britain.
The options for Britain
First of all, May must remember that whilst the Leave side won. The result was close. 52% of people voted in favour of leaving the EU. Furthermore, 48% of people voted to remain in the EU. Most noteworthy is that politicians from the Remain camp want to ensure Britain can retain its access to the Single Market. The majority of people who voted to leave the EU to end freedom of movement.
Furthermore, neither side failed to mention the Liechtenstein model. The example of Liechtenstein that Ben Kelly refers to proves that the EU can amend the rules on freedom of movement. Liechtenstein is a member of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) and is able to trade with the EU via the European Economic Area (EEA). Liechtenstein gains access to the Single Market. They are able to implement a quota system similar to Australia’s points-based system.
Most noteworthy is that the EEA Council agreed that it would harm Liechtenstein’s economy if they were subjected to the free movement of people. Article 112 of the EEA Agreement allows countries to apply an emergency brake when serious social, economic and/or environmental difficulties arise. On 1st January 1998, Liechtenstein imposed quantitative limitations on immigration. These were upheld after a further review by the EEA Joint Committee in 1999. Currently, Britain would have to rely upon the EU Commission because we cannot take such action until we have left the EU.
Also, a quota system was later implemented in Liechtenstein by 31st December 2006. The Joint Committee allowed Liechtenstein to seek a longer-term solution. This arrangement was subject to review every five years. In 2009 and 2015, the Joint Committee decided this new system did not need to be reviewed. The Liechtenstein quota system provides 56 residence permits to economically active citizens and 16 permits to economically non-active citizens every year. Half of the available permits are decided by a lottery twice a year.
In addition, an article from The Sceptic Isle suggests the Norway model was misinterpreted by the Remain camp. Norway is a member of the Schengen Area. Norway thereby accepts the free movement of people. Norway does not pay into the EU budget. £7,024,600 of their money is paid into the EFTA budget. The EEA Joint Committee has a final say over which EU rules they wish to implement. Furthermore, Norway does not accept EU rules without voting for them.
Finally, there are many options available to May. Norway and Liechtenstein are smaller countries, but they set a precedent for Britain. Britain can achieve a satisfactory deal with the EU. But this was a close result and confidence in the markets is ebbing away. An EEA agreement can satisfy politicians on all sides. The lady must not turn. We ultimately voted for Brexit and May must prove she is true to her word.