EU cracks showing as Iceland and Norway pushing to leave EEA arrangements

Ed Miliband: I’ve got to embrace Brexit

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Britain and the EU reached a post-Brexit trade deal in December last year – after almost nine months of fraught negotiations during the transition period. Announced on Christmas Eve, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as a “jumbo Canada-style” deal and declared: “All our red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved. “Everything that the British public were promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.”

The deal is without a doubt a huge triumph for the Prime Minister, who in 2019, won a thumping majority at the general election with the promise “to get Brexit done”.

This new partnership could cause some problems for the EU, though.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, historian and head of an Icelandic free-market think tank Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson insisted many more countries, including the ones in the European Economic Area (EEA), will want to strike a similar deal with the bloc and leave their current arrangement.

He said: “In Norway, you now have political parties calling for Norway to reconsider membership to the EEA.

“They are calling for a comprehensive trade agreement, something similar to what the UK has negotiated with the EU.

“This is actually the form of trade agreement that most countries around the world are now asking for.

“They are waiting in line for it.

“They are not waiting in line for an agreement similar to the EEA.”

Government trade adviser Shanker Singham echoed Mr Guðmundsson’s claims in another interview with Express.co.uk, where he declared the Brexit deal is better than what the Swiss have with the bloc.

Mr Singham, the CEO of economic consultancy Competere, said: “There is no one in the world that has a full zero-quota, zero-tariff deal with the EU.

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“We are the only country that has that.

“To get a zero-quota, zero-tariff deal with the EU is very very unusual.”

He added: “Frankly, this is a better deal than what the Swiss have with the EU.

“If I was Switzerland, I would want a similar deal.

“And in fact, if I was Switzerland, Turkey or even one of the Mediterranean countries like Morocco, I would be going for this exact kind of deal.”

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Switzerland is not an EU member state.

It is associated with the Union through a series of bilateral treaties in which Bern has adopted various provisions of EU law in order to participate in the Union’s single market, without joining as a member state.

All but one – the microstate Liechtenstein – of Switzerland’s neighbouring countries are EU member states.

It took 17 years for Bern to hammer out a one-off bilateral trade deal, which was said to be nowhere near as complex as the one Mr Johnson negotiated.

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