Apparently The British Want The Norway Brexit – Not That It’s Particularly On Offer

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An interesting enough survey of public opinion. What do you want to be able to do post-Brexit and then, well, what is the name we give to that sort of deal? Something like the Norway model it seems. Even if that’s not quite something the EU is willing to offer to us:

It is now more than two years since Britons voted to leave the EU. But what has been learned in that time about what British people want for their future relationship with the EU? Those on the hard right argue that Britons voted to sever existing treaties with the EU. Others argue that leaving the single market was never part of the plan. The referendum outcome tells us very little about what people actually wanted.

But our study of what people value about the EU does tell us. And we find that their priorities map most squarely onto a Norway-style model for future relations with the EU.

People place a high value on having access to the EU markets for trade in goods and services. They like the option for the UK to be able to make its own trade deals. They also value that the UK is able to make its own laws, but not as much as access to the single market or the ability to make trade deals. They worry about freedom of movement, but mostly because of concerns about demand for public services. They strongly dislike the idea of having to get a visa to travel for their holidays.

Netting out positives and negatives, we found that Britons place the most value on a Norway-like deal. In fact, support for this kind of deal – which is based on membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) – has increased in the past year, up from 38% in 2017 to 43% in 2018. Norway is part of the EEA but is not a member of the customs union and can therefore make its own trade deals. We found people value the Norway model more than the current relationship with the EU, in part because Norway is free to make trade deals with non-EU countries. And while a “no-deal” is less popular than remaining, it is considered preferable to a customs union arrangement.

These findings have their roots in a 2017 study we undertook to better understand what people thought about Britain’s relationship with the EU. The study incorporated a survey with nearly 1,000 respondents using a “stated preference discrete choice experiment”. The idea is that it is better to ascertain people’s preferences by examining the choices they make rather than asking them to try to estimate the value that they attach to things directly, because people are much better at making choices – something they probably do every day – than providing abstract valuations. Also, using choices forces people to make trade-offs, which helps identify what is most important to them.

Respondents were asked to make choices between options that described the UK’s relationship with the EU. These options included freedom of movement for holidays and working, access to the single market, ability to make free trade deals, contribution to the EU and sovereignty.

Theresa May claims to be enacting the will of the people. PA

Now, more than a year on and as negotiations continue between the UK government and the EU, we decided to revisit this study to see whether people’s priorities have changed. We approached the same people that we surveyed in February 2017 to repeat the experiments, managing to repeat the survey with more than 80% of them. We also added new respondents so we again had a sample of nearly 1,000 respondents. Our study revealed that people’s priorities had changed little over the past year, which is somewhat surprising given the rhetoric about Brexit during that time.

Other options

The status quo, or remaining in the EU, was the second preferred option – further evidence that people valued access to the single market and were willing to trade restraints on freedom of movement and sovereignty for this access.

The third preferred outcome was a “no-deal” Brexit, relying on World Trade Organisation rules. This was valued less positively than remaining in the EU because of the need for visas for holiday travel and lack of access to the single market, although there are some positive aspects in terms of being able to make free trade deals with countries outside of the EU, increased sovereignty and savings made by ending EU contributions.

Of all the relationships we examined, participating in the customs union was valued the least. It was considered worse than not getting a deal because of restrictions on making free trade deals, even though the costs that businesses would face to participate in the single market for trading of goods are not as high as for the “no deal” situation. It was considered worse than remaining in the EU because of the need for visas (and health insurance) for travel and loss of access to the EU market for services and increased costs for goods. These aspects were not outweighed by the positive benefits of constraining freedom of movement for working and living (requiring work permits for people working in the UK), increased sovereignty and savings.

Will of the people?

It’s very difficult to quantify the value of what the UK government is proposing as its Brexit model in the Chequers plan because it is relatively ambiguous. We have therefore calculated values for the most optimistic and pessimistic interpretations.

In the most optimistic view, a certain number of “ifs” would value the Chequers plan as highly as the EEA (Norway) option. This would be the case if it allows a reciprocal deal for truly visa-free travel for tourists, including continued reciprocal health insurance arrangements; if the UK is able to make trade deals with countries outside the EU on its own terms and is not constrained by the “common rule book”; and if the UK is able to sell goods with no additional costs. However, at the other extreme, if these conditions are not met then Chequers is valued much more negatively than a customs union arrangement.

Politicians who were keen to follow the “will of the people” have been curiously silent on what is the most popular option among the British population – the Norway-type deal. More attention could be given to accessing the single market, rather than focusing on stemming the freedom of movement of people and increasing sovereignty.

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MrYan
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MrYan

I guess it’s input to the discussion but I’m not sure how much use it is. If it’s taking ‘choices’ over ‘value’ then what does it tell us on ‘not having to get a holiday visa’ over ‘free trade deals’? Given a choice, you’d prefer visa-less travel (assuming we’d need visas anyway) but is it more valuable than free trade?

MrYan
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MrYan

I guess it’s input to the discussion but I’m not sure how much use it is. If it’s taking ‘choices’ over ‘value’ then what does it tell us on ‘not having to get a holiday visa’ over ‘free trade deals’? Given a choice, you’d prefer visa-less travel (assuming we’d need visas anyway) but is it more valuable than free trade?

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

I’d go back to the status quo ante 1972. You could holiday in Europe. My vote (to stay in) in 1975 was made while working in Germany. I travelled alone to the Netherlands on a visitor’s passport when I was 12. No big deal, then. There only needs to be a problem if somebody wants to make it a problem. It is a truism that all polls are bent towards the result the funder wants. So is this one. I can travel freely to most places in the world anyone would want to go. Usually the places with onerous visa… Read more »

Spike
Member

The US and Canada have long welcomed each other’s visitors with no visa. Our ambassador proposed (in the fateful year 2001) a complete end to border inspection. The US now wants to know who everyone is, with passport or NAFTA “travel card.” Whatever you call the treaty, commerce is expedited and tariffs are generally low. We have never had a monetary union nor an international parliament. The US is resisting Canada’s demand to retain a supra-national review board to review trade policy. Bottom line: The UK and the EU can devise anything they want as independent negotiators. People will still… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

I’d go back to the status quo ante 1972. You could holiday in Europe. My vote (to stay in) in 1975 was made while working in Germany. I travelled alone to the Netherlands on a visitor’s passport when I was 12. No big deal, then. There only needs to be a problem if somebody wants to make it a problem. It is a truism that all polls are bent towards the result the funder wants. So is this one. I can travel freely to most places in the world anyone would want to go. Usually the places with onerous visa… Read more »

Spike
Guest
Spike

The US and Canada have long welcomed each other’s visitors with no visa. Our ambassador proposed (in the fateful year 2001) a complete end to border inspection. The US now wants to know who everyone is, with passport or NAFTA “travel card.” Whatever you call the treaty, commerce is expedited and tariffs are generally low. We have never had a monetary union nor an international parliament. The US is resisting Canada’s demand to retain a supra-national review board to review trade policy. Bottom line: The UK and the EU can devise anything they want as independent negotiators. People will still… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

Just as when she finds herself in her date’s bedroom, checking out his complete set of bondage-and-discipline instruments: The thing to do is GET OUT. You can discuss staying on good terms afterward.

Delaying the execution of Brexit, until the eventual next arrangement is set, may appeal to planning-crazed Brits. But it is a trap. Do not avoid decision until the future is “certain.” Just get out.

Spike
Member

Just as when she finds herself in her date’s bedroom, checking out his complete set of bondage-and-discipline instruments: The thing to do is GET OUT. You can discuss staying on good terms afterward.

Delaying the execution of Brexit, until the eventual next arrangement is set, may appeal to planning-crazed Brits. But it is a trap. Do not avoid decision until the future is “certain.” Just get out.

Southerner
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Southerner

You British are simply going to have to accept that May has sold you out à la Chamberlain. The alternative is Corbyn.

Southerner
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Southerner

You British are simply going to have to accept that May has sold you out à la Chamberlain. The alternative is Corbyn.

jgh
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jgh

I’ve never had to get a visa for any overseas travel – Hong Kong, France, Japan, Phillipines. Something like 180 countries have visa-free entry for stays of less than a month, worrying about visas for “holidays” is a red herring, who the **** is going on foreign a holiday for more than a month? If you’re wanting to stay in Foreign for more than a month it’s not a holiday, and you have much more planning to do than worrying about a visa.

jgh
Guest
jgh

I’ve never had to get a visa for any overseas travel – Hong Kong, France, Japan, Phillipines. Something like 180 countries have visa-free entry for stays of less than a month, worrying about visas for “holidays” is a red herring, who the **** is going on foreign a holiday for more than a month? If you’re wanting to stay in Foreign for more than a month it’s not a holiday, and you have much more planning to do than worrying about a visa.

jgh
Guest
jgh

“The status quo … was the second preferred option”
But the status quo is not an available option. Remaining in means ever and more ever closer union, the complete subsumation of the nation state and the complete abolition of local entities. That’s *NOT* the status quo.

jgh
Guest
jgh

“The status quo … was the second preferred option”
But the status quo is not an available option. Remaining in means ever and more ever closer union, the complete subsumation of the nation state and the complete abolition of local entities. That’s *NOT* the status quo.

jgh
Guest
jgh

“World Trade Organisation rules … was valued less positively … because of the need for visas for holiday travel”
WTO rules has bugger all to do with Foreign imposing visas on holiday visitors – that is, by definition, very short-term visitors, people giving you money and taking almost to zero of your services. The only thing that results in Foreign imposing visas on short-term visitors is Foreign being crack-heads.

jgh
Guest
jgh

“World Trade Organisation rules … was valued less positively … because of the need for visas for holiday travel”
WTO rules has bugger all to do with Foreign imposing visas on holiday visitors – that is, by definition, very short-term visitors, people giving you money and taking almost to zero of your services. The only thing that results in Foreign imposing visas on short-term visitors is Foreign being crack-heads.