Tuesday 3 May 2016 12:05 am

EU referendum: Free market think tank says Britain should follow the Norway model after it votes for Brexit

If the UK votes to leave the European Union it will have to become a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), a free market think tank has said today, in a challenge to Leave campaigners to present a viable idea of what the UK would look like after Brexit.

The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) has said that it would be “impossible” for any other type of individual arrangement to be negotiated between the UK and the European Union within the two year time frame allowed under EU rules.

Not only would agreeing any other kind of deal be difficult due to the complex connections between the UK and the rest of the EU, but the ASI also believes that the “EU will make a tailored deal for Britain impossible to discourage other members from leaving”.

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Under article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, any member wishing to leave the EU has two years to wrap up the terms of that exit, unless every country in the EU agrees to extend that time frame.

Joining the EEA would mean the UK keeps access to the single market, cuts its contribution to the EU budget and is no longer required to work with the EU on justice, home affairs and defence policies, according to the ASI, which believes the UK should vote for Brexit.

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Matthew Wood, a politics lecturer at the University of Sheffield told City A.M. that although the EEA model was a “safe” alternative, “the obvious point … is it doesn’t give the Leave campaigners much of what they’re looking for” in terms of cast-iron controls on immigration and a drastic reduction in the UK’s contribution to the EU budget.

Vote Leave, the group campaigning for a vote to leave the European Union refused to comment. Britain Stronger in Europe dismissed the idea of joining the EEA, saying the UK would be “going from rule maker to rule taker” as it “would have no say over the rules governing the EU’s single market”.