The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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EFTA or the EU?

A viable alternative to EU membership

Hugo van Randwyck

efta or the eu

Since its inception the Bruges Group has researched and promoted possible alternatives to EU membership and the exit strategies available to Britain. Here the Bruges Group considers replacing the UK’s membership of the EU with that of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

EFTA/EEA is a simple off-the-shelf working alternative to the EU and has immediate benefits. EFTA states offer a shining example of what Britain can achieve outside of the EU. Those sovereign states are much better-off and much more free and economically dynamic.

Replacing the UK's membership of the European Union with that of the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area will enable regulations to be repealed, it will allow businesses to grow and will thus lower unemployment and create around 1 million new jobs. Membership of EFTA/EEA will also lower the burden placed on the taxpayer as it requires a much lower financial contribution. The UK will withdraw from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy, enabling it to take back control of its own farming and fishing grounds again. Membership of EFTA/EEA would also mean that the UK will regain full responsibility for Justice and Home Affairs.

Replacing Britain’s EU membership with that of EFTA/EEA will also mean that there would be no loss of Britain's trading relationship with other EU states. What is more, the UK would retain influence in EU decision making.

This paper demolishes the vacuous arguments put forward by the pro-EU lobby for the UK's continued membership of the European Union.

We can easily implement the EFTA/EEA alternative, we have the public looking for a better alternative to the EU, we have businesses that would like less regulations, we now need to let the British people know that there is a simple alternative to EU membership and to give the electorate a referendum so that they can determine their own future. Asking the question which would you prefer, membership of the EU or membership of EFTA/EEA?

There is an alternative!

Click here to read the full analysis