Sceptics warn British government against Swiss-style ties with EU
Foreign News

Sceptics warn British government against Swiss-style ties with EU

The British Government says it has no plans to move to a Swiss-style relationship with the European Union.

This is coming after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s eurosceptic lawmakers warned against pursuing closer alignment with the trading bloc.

The Sunday Times reported that Sunak’s government would look to pursue frictionless trade with the EU, which Britain left in January 2020.

The newspaper said a potential deal could be modelled on Switzerland’s EU relationship but that this may not involve a return to freedom of movement.

Switzerland has access to the EU’s single market, but in return has to accept conditions, including freedom of movement and payments into the bloc’s budget.
British ministers have previously rejected this model during negotiation with Brussels.

“I don’t recognise this story at all,” Health Minister, Steve Barclay, told Sky News.

“I don’t support that. I want to maximise the opportunities that Brexit offers.”

A UK Foreign Ministry spokesperson says “these reports are categorically untrue”.

Simon Clarke, a former minister, was among those to criticise any suggestion that Britain could pursue a Swiss-style deal.

He said on Twitter he hoped and believed that a Swiss-style deal “isn’t something under consideration”.

David Frost, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Chief Brexit negotiator, said if the claims were correct, he hoped “the government thinks better of these plans, fast”.

Nigel Farage, one of the most high-profile faces of the campaign to leave the EU, also said on Twitter that “this level of betrayal will never be forgiven”.

Crisis since Brexit

Britain’s governing Conservatives have lurched from crisis to crisis since the vote to leave the European Union in 2016.
The crisis led to years of difficult negotiations with Brussels over an exit deal.

During those talks, the British government said the Swiss-style model of EU relations was unsuitable for Britain.

This is because the UK would have had to align with EU laws without any say over them.

It could also have agree to freedom of movement for EU workers.

Britain is currently talking with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol.

The protocol is a part of the Brexit deal that mandates checks on some goods moving to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

This is due to the province’s open land border with EU member Ireland. (Reuters)

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