Iceland says the Return of the United Kingdom to EFTA would be welcomed after Brexit

Iceland says the Return of the United Kingdom to EFTA would be welcomed after Brexit

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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The Foreign Minister of Iceland, Lilja Alfredsdottir, said that her nation would welcome the United Kingdom back into the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) after the United Kingdom finalizes Brexit. Alfredsdottir points out that the United Kingdom is Iceland’s largest trading partner.

It is worth stressing that the United Kingdom co-founded EFTA in 1960 but left to join the European Economic Community in 1972. Equally important, with the current government being open to new trade agreements following the vote on Brexit, then rejoining EFTA may appeal. After all, joining the nations of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, will maintain a firm base within Europe despite being outside the main block that the electorate voted to leave.

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Alfredsdottir says, “The EFTA countries might make an agreement with the UK… We are chairing the EFTA right now and I put it as a priority to analyze the possibilities that EFTA had on this front.”

Currently, the United Kingdom is the largest trading partner of Iceland and ties would be further boosted if the United Kingdom rejoins EFTA. At the same time, the immigration issue, sovereignty, and being ruled by a powerful super-state, does not apply to EFTA. Therefore, this block of nations provides a win-win situation for all involved given the current situation in Europe post-Brexit.

According to Alfredsdottir if the United Kingdom is uncertain about rejoining EFTA, then two other possibilities remain. This applies to a natural bilateral agreement to strengthen ties with Iceland. The other solution, involves the United Kingdom signing an agreement with the nations of the European Economic Area (EEA).

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