As Boris Johnson calls for EU renegotiation, should Britain just stay in the single market?


Christopher Howarth

It is essential that the UK renegotiates its EU membership. As we have argued for years, the economic and democratic costs are far too high. But we should not leave. The UK, particularly the City, benefits from the single market and doing business across Europe – something that would be more difficult outside the EU. The single market, not the euro, is the EU’s “core” project. We should remain inside, but reduce the EU’s involvement in other policy areas. This is fully achievable – and indeed necessary if we are to reconcile a sceptical public to continued EU membership. As Europe is going through profound changes, a majority of EU countries – particularly the northern liberal ones and recent joiners – worry that an EU without the UK would be more protectionist, costly, and less fiscally responsible. Germany, in particular, will be ready to offer concessions in return for more Eurozone integration.

Christopher Howarth is senior political analyst at Open Europe.


Yannick Naud

Boris Johnson’s suggestion that Britain should remain in the single market, but pull out of the political union may sound like a great solution for a “happy, contented” relationship in theory. But, in order to benefit from trading freely within the single market, the UK has to adhere to most EU regulations. By opting out of the political union, we risk losing influence on these regulations from within. Removing ourselves from the EU’s political entanglements may come at a price. The EU could rewrite the rules to our disadvantage, which could be costly. Boris mentioned Norway as an example the UK could follow to avoid having regulations being imposed from Brussels. However, according to a report by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten last year, Norway has implemented 99.8 per cent of the EU’s laws and regulations.

Yannick Naud is portfolio manager at Glendevon King Asset Management.