BREXIT- UK’s challenge to find its place in Europe

On the 24th of June 2016 The UK voted OUT of the European Union. Minutes after that PM David Cameron resigned and by October a new prime minister will be assigned.

Reflecting on recent events, I feel very sad that the UK has decided to leave the EU as this has immediately resulted in an insecure and unclear future for the UK. There is a possibility that the UK will crumble as Scotland may vote for independence, while Northern Ireland may either join Ireland or become independent.

So what’s next? What’s going to happen? There are 7 alternatives suggested by Jean-Claude Piris, who is a consultant in European Law and Public International Law (Piris Consulting BVBA), a former French and European official.


  1. Special status/Half-membership DOES NOT EXIST
  2. Norwegian model (join the EEA)
    – legally required to join the EFTA (European Free Trade Association)
    – MUST accept free movement of people & contribute to EU budget
    – NOT bound to follow agriculture, fisheries, judicial affairs, foreign policy etc.
    – BOUND to follow internal market legislation without having significant say in its making
    – needs to pay tariffs on goods which originate from outside the EU and are being exported to the EU (if Norway buys cheap Chinese goods and wants to sell them to the EU it needs to pay tariff)
  3. Rejoin the European Free Trade Agreements, EFTA, but not the EEA
    – negotiate a series of bilateral agreements
    – very few economic benefits
    – covers only some fish and agriculture products but no services at all
  4. Swiss model (EFTA)
    – Switzerland has over 120 bilateral agreements with the EU
    – no agreement on services, including financial services
    – The City of London may lose its financial centre position
    – MUST contribute financially to the EU budget (about half of what the EU membership costs to the UK at present)
    – MUST accept free movement, although Switzerland is in breach of this rule by imposing quotas
    – the Swiss model is complex and the EU is not happy with it, the EU is unlikely to agree to it
  5. Negotiate a new free-trade agreement/deal
    – Similar to those agreements between the EU and Canada (The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)), or between the EU and Singapore etc.
    – An agreement similar to the TTIP; the EU is currently negotiating the TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the USA
    – eliminate tariffs on all industrial products
    – most agricultural and fisheries tariffs and quotas will go, apart from those on meat and eggs
    – differences in regulations and standards will remain, and these constitute some of the

    larger barriers to trade
    – NO free movement of people

    – financial services are excluded from the agreement which again threatens London’s position
  6. Turkish model (EU customs model)
    – follow tariffs made by the EU
    – only partial access to single market
    – no say in FTAs the EU makes
    – NO free movement of people
  7. Russian and Chinese model (WTO rules) a case where the UK withdraws completely for the EU
    – NO free movement of people
    – loss of all benefits
    – access to single market is ruled by WTO rules

The most possible and realistic scenario for the UK would be alternative number 5, however considering that 48% of the British population voted Remain it could be very difficult to negotiate a deal that pleases everyone. British people who voted Leave were very much driven by anti-immigration feelings and might not be interested in the Norwegian or Swiss model. In terms of trade, a vast majority of businesses which rely heavily on the EU single market might be at risk of significant financial loss and even face bankrupcy. In terms of the future and the rights of all the British expats in other EU countries and EU citizens living in the UK nothing is known. Whatever the UK negotiates, things will never be the same!

2 Replies to “BREXIT- UK’s challenge to find its place in Europe”

  1. Great article! I’m really worried about what’s going to happen for me now since I plan to stay in England after I finish my degree… Uncertainty is horrible when you thought things like the EU would stay the same and gave you so many opportunities. We will see! At least I am happy to see nothing changes right now and we can still get Student Finance until the end of our degrees! Enjoy the summer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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