- The CBI is calling for the debate on Europe to focus on credible options for the UK's future relationship with the EU, warning that half-way house models such as Norway and Switzerland are not the answer.

Ahead of a key debate in the House of Commons on the timing of a potential EU referendum, the CBI is today (Friday) publishing new analysis of Norway’s and Switzerland’s relationships with the EU and rejects the notion that a similar form of associate membership would work for the UK.

While the CBI argues that the arrangements work for Norway and Switzerland, they would not work for the UK. They would leave British businesses on the margins of the world's largest trading bloc, operating under market rules over which it has little or no influence.

Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said:

“Businesses will get behind what’s best for growth, jobs and the long-term health of our economy – retaining access to the single market in a reformed EU. The test for those arguing that the UK must remain in the EU and for those pressing for our departure is to come up with a clear vision of our future, inside or out.

“Whether we are in or out of membership we will still need a relationship with the EU. But Norway and Switzerland simply don’t appear to have set-ups the UK should aspire to. They are half-way houses on the margins of Europe with no influence over the market rules under which they operate.

“Norway still pays the bills and has as much of a say on the single market as Liechtenstein, which is not my idea of greater sovereignty.

“The debate now needs to focus on the best way to use our seat at the table and get the wheels turning on the kinds of reform that will make all of Europe more competitive.â€

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