The EU Is Not The Single Market


Remainers apparently struggle to understand the very simple concept that the EU is not the Single Market. To clarify, the Single Market is the 31-member state EEA (European Economic Area) agreement, which includes EFTA (European Free Trade Association) members—Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein—along with the 28 EU Member States.

EFTA/EEA member states enjoy full access to the Single Market without being bound by the Common External Tariff or the Common Commercial Policy, which, under the terms of Article 34 of the Treaty on European Union, empowers the European Commission to speak on behalf of EU Member States in international trade talks and compels EU Member States to adopt the EU’s “common position” on standards-setting bodies at the global level.

It is quite stunning the lengths to which Remainers will go to in order to muddy the water on this particular issue, even to the point of arguing against themselves. No less a figure than the Prime Minister says that the Norway option would not be right for Britain because it would mean paying into the EU budget and accepting free movement of workers. Maybe I missed a meeting, but at what point was it agreed that remaining in the EU would mean any change to either aspect of our current relationship?

Of all the rubbish I have read about the EEA though, this piece from Euroactiv currently tops what is a very long list. If you want to read the entire article the link is there. I am going to focus only on the following sentence:

In practice, Norway was never outside the EU: As a member of the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA), Norway adopts all Single Market legislation just like any EU member state, with the exception of the common agriculture and fishery policies.

I will say it again if I have to, the EU is not the Single Market. This abuse of language is so common among Remainers that one easily becomes inured to it, but what Euroactiv has published here amounts to a lie. Norway is not in the EU and nobody can credibly argue that Norway is in the EU. That would be because the Single Market agreement (the EEA) is not the EU. The use of the words “in practice” change nothing.

There is also the assertion that “Norway adopts all Single Market legislation just like any EU Member State”. Countries that are in the EEA adopt all “EEA relevant” legislation, but, that is not the same as being in the EU. Not even close. At last count, the proportion of “EEA relevant” legislation was around one quarter of the total number of EU legislative acts in force. Adopting all Single Market legislation is not the same as adopting all EU legislation because—say it with me now—the EU is not the Single Market.

For any europhiles trying to follow along, you can leave now. You wouldn’t understand this next bit and I know that new information is the kind of thing that is liable to disrupt your worldview. Still here? Right, get this, I’m about to blow your mind: not only is the EU not the Single Market, but the world does not end at the borders of the EU.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard all about those dragons at the edge of the map and isn’t the EU a flat disk sat on the back of a turtle being pulled through space by four giant elephants?

No, exciting as the thought may be, Britain and the British people will not be stepping off the edge of the world at the point of EU exit. Transitional arrangements which suit both sides will be hammered out as part of the exit negotiation. The Remainer idea that leaving the EU would mean Britain being “isolated” and “alone” is as pitiable as it is absurd. As far as these timid creatures as concerned, the UK is not a place that “makes history” any more.

To be completely honest, even if that were true (it isn’t), Britain is still my home. It matters to me how and by whom my country is governed even if the time-servers at the FT can’t be arsed to engage with the arguments with any degree of seriousness.

One of the reasons why the Remainers’ view of EU exit is so grossly negative is that (if their rhetoric is to be believed) they genuinely think that the world really does end at the edge of the EU. The fact of the matter, however, is that globalisation is changing everything. The emergence of genuinely multilateral institutions operating on an intergovernmental basis at the global level undermines practically every argument that the Remainers make about having “influence” in the EU. If we want Britain to play an active part in solving the major issues of the 21st century, rather than whinging from the sidelines mired in a grey supranational construct conceived in the 1920s, Britain needs a full seat at the top table.

Britain is plugged into the global system in ways that the Remainers have not even begun to recognise, let alone seriously address. There are a universe of global bodies above the level of the sub-regional EU. The WTO, Codex, UNECE, the ILO, the IMO, and so on. But, as part of the EU, the UK is bound by the EU “common position” on these forums, without an independent voice, vote or right of reservation.

Our politicians cede our power at the global level in exchange for “influence” in the EU. But what purpose does that “influence” serve if it means that the voice of the people is never heard?

The Remainers want us to believe that it would be really, really dangerous for Britain, one of the world’s oldest and most successful nation-state democracies, to embrace the same level of independence as say, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, etc. Then they act incredulous when we say that we don’t believe them.

This great country’s days are not over. Leaving the EU would be but the first step in a great global journey towards greater prosperity and purposeful political engagement. There is a lot of work to be done to rebuild our democratic institutions and policy-making expertise, but the first step is to leave the EU.

Pig Ignorant And Grossly Offensive To Boot

What is the point of the British legacy media? It is incapable and where capable unwilling to report on reality. It exists only to lie to you.

Sure, for the most part, the hacks are just clueless keyboard thumpers who know not what they do. But why should ignorance be an excuse when these people are being paid?

Everybody makes mistakes. But the extent of the deception and self-deception which bubble journalists evince is on another level. If these people are ill-informed, it is because they want to be. If I type “EU referendum” into a search engine, the top site is

So, by that somewhat circular route, do we come to the focus of this post: this condescending and inaccurate Evening Standard article written by Anthony Hilton. I shall not rebut the entire piece, just a few illustrative examples. If you really must read it in its entirety, follow the link.

EU laws are essentially of two types.

There are three types of EU legislation: Decisions, Regulations, and Directives. A minor point perhaps, but it is indicative of the slipshod manner in which the British press report on EU issues, only to then put themselves at the front of the queue wailing about an absence of facts.

Those aimed at creating the single market — which is most of them — demand that member states respect the free movement of goods and services and require that the products which are to be traded be produced to common minimum standards.

The Single Market (EEA) acquis is one quarter the size of the total EU acquisroughly 26 percent (based on the latest updated figure) of all EU legislative acts in force are “EEA relevant”. Of those more than 80 percent of the legislative categories covered under the EEA acquis fall within the ambit of international standards which the EU is obliged, under the terms of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, to use as the basis for technical regulations within its Single Market.

All trade blocs and trade treaties have these kind of laws.

It is this kind of statement that causes one to doubt Mr Hilton’s honesty. No other trade bloc anywhere else in the world has an executive Commission which proposes and enacts laws that bind its Member States and are judiciable in a supranational court. Mutual recognition of conformity assessment and common regulatory standards do not demand political integration. ASEAN does not pass laws. NAFTA does not pass laws. Even TTIP, should it ever come into force, would not have a legislative function with primacy over and above that of participating nation-states.

People tend not to appreciate that the bulk of EU law has the sole purpose of making the single market work better, which is what British business wants.

What business wants is not relevant in matters of constitutional importance. How and by whom Britain should be governed is a matter for the British electorate. Moreover, as I have just explained, the assertion that “the bulk of EU law has the sole purpose of making the single market work better” is monstrously, maddeningly false.

There is no reason other than political union for Britain’s trade, fisheries, agricultural, energy and environmental policies to be subject to the majority vote of foreign governments. In the land that Mr Hilton inhabits, however, taking decisions further away from the electorate, lengthening lines of accountability, and introducing additional complexity and unnecessary duplication of effort which runs counter to the multilateral harmonisation agenda is more democratic than self-governance and proper global engagement.

This incoherent view hinges on a fundamental misunderstanding that is all too common among the Bubbleteers. In a democracy, the power lies not with the politicians, but with the people. The ultimate back-stop is not Parliament, but the British electorate.

A vote to leave is a vote to take that responsibility unto ourselves, to begin to act like the engaged and active citizenry that we like to think that we are.