Moreover, if Britain wanted full access to the European single market, it would have to observe almost all the EU’s rules. That is the case in Norway and Switzerland, non-members that both also pay into the EU budget (in Norway’s case, roughly 90% of Britain’s net contribution per head). Eurosceptics who dream of reclaiming lost sovereignty need to explain how they advance their aims by advocating an alternative that would require Britain to apply rules it has no say in making—and to pay for the privilege.
If, instead, Britain wishes to escape the EU’s rules, it will lose full access to the single market. The argument that, because Britain imports more from the EU than the other way round, it is in a strong bargaining position is unconvincing: the EU takes almost half of British exports, whereas Britain takes less than 10% of the EU’s. A free-trade deal in goods might be negotiable, but it would not cover services (including financial services), which make up a rising share of British exports. And one thing is sure: if Britain establishes a precedent by leaving, the rest of the EU will not rush to reward it.
Excellent article. It counters the key arguments of the Brexit crowd.