The chief misconception is to assess Common Market 2.0 in isolation from the other options. But we will never break the deadlock if we keep on taking absolutist positionsby Stephen Kinnock / April 29, 2019 / Leave a comment
The downside of taking a reasoned, measured position in any political debate is that you tend to get ‘caught in the crossfire’, with purists at each end of the spectrum attacking your proposals because they pose a threat to their ideological obsessions. Try this with Brexit and you’re labelled a “traitor”, for all manner of reasons, all completely contradictory to each other.
But in spite of the occupational hazards, soon after the vote of 23 June 2016 it became clear to me that the only democratic way forward was to respect the result of the referendum whilst also reflecting the closeness of the outcome: 52/48 is a mandate for Britain to move house without leaving the neighbourhood.
That’s why I’ve campaigned passionately for three years for a ‘Norway plus’-style Brexit, now commonly known as Common Market 2.0. No route forward can possibly please everyone, but polling shows that this kind of Brexit is the solution that the greatest number of the public can live with.
I have always been open and honest about Common Market 2.0’s imperfections—as have other advocates, from Nick Boles to Lucy Powell, Seema Malhotra to Rob Halfon—which is why I found Anand Menon’s recent Prospect piece suggesting the Norway option may not even be possible so puzzling.
He claims campaigners for an EEA-based Brexit have somehow “skipped around the facts”, despite our 20-page pamphlet being completely honest about the model’s pros and cons and reflecting that we are the only cross-party group to have established a workable solution based on existing Treaties.
I’ll take each of Menon’s critiques one at a time, in a bid to knock some of the common misconceptions about Common Market 2.0 on the head.
More freedom than you think
First, Menon wrongly states that we fail to acknowledge the model’s limitations in reforming the free movement of people. Common Market 2.0 commits Britain to staying in the Single Market, thus accepting that the four freedoms would continue. But by leaving the EU and transferring to the EFTA pillar we would gain important new safeguard measures, through articles 112 and 113 of the EEA Agreement.
We have always been crystal clear that 112 and 113 could only be invoked on the basis of “serious economic, societal or environment difficulties,” as set out in the EEA Treaty.
Menon is right that Norway haven’t used the measures despite having higher net migration per…