New polling found that almost a third of respondents have switched their preference in favour of a closer relationship with the EU after Brexit.
Membership of the European Economic Area, known as the “Norway model,” is now the most popular Brexit option, with 43% of Brits in favour, up from 38% last year.
Under a Norway-style deal, the UK would effectively stay in the single market and continue to follow all of its rules, including the free movement of people.
Supporters of this form of Brexit say it is the best way of preserving the Irish border and frictionless trade.
LONDON — Support for Britain retaining a close relationship with the European Union is increasing among both Leavers and Remainers as Theresa May moves towards agreeing a Brexit withdrawal deal, new polling has found.
The research, by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, RAND Europe, and Cambridge University, followed up on a 2017 study to assess whether public opinion on Brexit has changed.
It found that almost a third of respondents have switched their preference in favour of a closer relationship with the EU after Brexit, while a fifth opted for a more distant relationship, and half did not change their views.
Continued membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), which allows full access to the single market, is now supported by 43% of Brits, up from 38% in 2017, making it the most popular Brexit option.
Among Leave voters support for leaving the EU without a deal has decreased from 44% in 2017 to 39% in 2018.
The polling also found:
One in three Leave voters (34%) would now opt for EEA membership in 2018, up from one in four (24%) in 2017;
Nearly one in five (18%) Remain voters have shifted from preferring EEA membership in 2017 to simply remaining in the EU;
Nearly 9 in 10 Remain voters Remain voters now prefer EEA membership or remaining in the EU.
Overall, an increasing number of Brits see a close relationship with the EU after Brexit as a positive outcome.
Jonathan Grant, Professor of Public Policy at King’s College London, said: “As we approach the cut-off date for finalising a Brexit deal, it appears that more and more people are seeing a close relationship between the UK and the EU as a good thing.
“While there may be political difficulties in implementing what our research found to be the most popular type of deal – one that resembles membership of the EEA – it is clear that the public place a high value on a soft exit.”
What is the ‘Norway model’?
The Norway model is based on two key European organisations: The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA). Norway, along with Lichtenstein and Iceland, is a member of both.
EFTA is made up of the three aforementioned countries, plus Switzerland. All four trade between themselves and the group as a whole has signed free trade deals with numerous non-EU countries, Canada, Mexico, and others.
The EEA, on the other hand, is a collaboration of all EU member states plus …read more
Source:: Business Insider