Unfortunately Mr Arbuthnot quotes me out of context (12/2/16) and confuses the Norway/Swiss-EEA/EU models!
Norway opted for the Single-market European Economic Area (EEA); Switzerland negotiated.
Neither contributes to the EU Budget, but pay agreed GDP-based contributions to ‘EU running costs’, supplementing the EU budget.
Both voluntarily fund deprived EEA regions and EU projects.
Norway adopted certain ‘acquis communautaire’ legislation; Switzerland mimics it.
Through EU-EFTA/EEA treaties Norway has clout in EEA-EU committees while the EU consults EFTA on new legislation and abides by UN rules in which Norway and Switzerland retain their UN seats, having considerable clout.
Britain surrendered much UN clout under ‘EU competences’ (trade, environment...).
Under QMV, Britain has only a nominal 9 per cent voice in the Council of Ministers and EU Parliament.
The EU is unfathomably complicated, but not beyond basic homework (use Whitaker’s Almanack)!
Readers must understand sovereign Free Trade Areas versus the political EU Customs Union; European Council vs (non-EU) Council of Europe, and how the UN/Marshall Plan pushed (against fearful France and Russia) for a restored Europe, hopefully peacefully united, under a German economic power-house – hence the DeutschMark-based Euro intentionally making Germany the dominant nation, while much of the Eurozone suffers!
Today all EU members are in the UN – they don’t need a political EU to trade, legislate or keep peace!
Indeed, Britain’s significant European trade is with around 10 EU/EFTA members –even the europhile The Economist recognises the EU is in worrying decline while UK exports to the EU (under 45 per cent) are approaching the (equivalent) 35-40 per cent before we joined!
Britain has nothing to fear from leaving the stagnating, introspective, self-protectionist, political EU Customs Union.
I, and the majority of Britons, would happily join a truly reformed, mutually beneficial, apolitical European Free-Trade area, but David Cameron didn’t consult Britain before pursuing his bizarre EU ‘reforms’ – ones fundamentally unacceptable to the EU project.
If we stay in, the intransigent EU/ECJ will simply ‘re-interpret’ existing treaties... as Major and Cameron discovered!
We need honest debate. EU campaigners must abandon orchestrated scaremongery.
Brexits must answer and allay natural fears (especially among under-60s) of life outside the EU.
Barry M Jones
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