Geneva • With Britain’s exit from the European Union looming, Scottish officials have been visiting Liechtenstein to explore the tiny Alpine country’s arrangements that give it access to the massive EU market.
Liechtenstein Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick says Scottish envoys have been “coming and visiting … and trying to find out especially about the functioning” of the European Economic Area that allows Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway to be part of the EU single market.
Frick spoke in an interview Monday with The Associated Press in Geneva at a meeting of ministers from the European Free Trade Association, another bloc that unites Switzerland with those three countries.
Frick said Liechtenstein can inform Scotland about the way the EEA and EFTA work, but echoed other ministers who emphasized that Britain must sort out its own post-Brexit ambitions before membership in either could be considered.
“We haven’t had any signal from the U.K. about these questions,” said Monica Maeland, Norway’s minister of trade and industry. “I think first of all, Britain has to decide for themselves which way they are going to go.”
Last week, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said the two models were being examined as a way to ensure Scotland’s place in the EU market. The Scottish government plans to lay out proposals aimed at keeping Scotland in that market even if the rest of Britain leaves.
EEA membership offers access to the EU market, but members must make a financial contribution and adopt most EU legislation as well as allow for the free movement of people to and from the bloc.