What Is The Norway Plus Brexit Option?

8 December 2018, 14:26 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 15:53

The Norwegian flag
The Norwegian flag. Picture: PA

Amber Rudd has suggested that the UK could seek an alternative plan if Theresa May's Brexit proposal is rejected by MPs in their 'meaningful vote'. But what does her 'Norway plus' option look like?

What is the Norway model?

Norway is not a member of the European Union, but it is part of the European Economic Area meaning it is within the single market.

It also follows a significant number of EU rules and regulations, and contributes to the EU budget. The 'Norway model' includes freedom of movement of goods, services, people and capital - therefore Norwegians can live and work across the EU, and vice-versa.

However as a non-member, Norway has no say in making EU rules because it has no representation.

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Theresa May
Theresa May. Picture: Getty

What is a 'Norway plus' Brexit?

If the UK decided to leave the European Union on the same terms as Norway, it would mean introducing a hard border on the island of Ireland.

So in order to avoid a hard border, the UK would stay within the customs union - something Norway is not.

This results with the 'Norway plus' arrangement.

Northern Norway.
Northern Norway. Picture: Getty

What's wrong with the Norway plus model?

Leave supports view Norway plus as 'Brexit in name only', because it keeps the UK closely tied to the bloc and free movement would continue - while some Remainers say the UK might as well stay just in the EU.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats described the 'Norway plus' model as a "well-intentioned compromise" but is "not going to deal with the crisis we now have".

Speaking to Matt Frei, Sir Vince Cable said that while the idea of 'Norway plus' was "a lot more sensible" than Theresa May's deal, he didn't think there was much point in pursuing it because "you might as well be sitting at the table and having a vote".

David Miliband described the option as something that 'would not deliver the mandate of 2016' and that "some of the claims made for 'Norway plus' are in danger of repeating the deeply misleading promises made for Brexit."

A Norway plus model would also see freedom of movement continue, something that would break one of Theresa May's red lines.