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 Norwayâ€™s and Switzerlandâ€™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:
â€œBusinesses will get behind whatâ€™s best for growth, jobs and the long-term health of our economy â€“ 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.
â€œWhether we are in or out of membership we will still need a relationship with the EU. But Norway and Switzerland simply donâ€™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.
â€œNorway 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.
â€œThe 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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