EU Parliament

The ABI has given its support to the prime minister’s campaign to remain in the EU.

During an interview on BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, David Cameron said that even if the UK replicated the Norway model of being outside the EU with access to the single market, it would have no say over the rules.

Key points:

  • Norwegian business body Finance Norway says country has no power to vote on EU rules
  • CBI says UK has good track record of shaping legislation that affects insurers
  • ABI Hugh Savill has said leaving EU could lose UK insurers’ passporting rights

Cameron said: “You still pay into the EU the same per head or a bit more as we do and you accept free movement, but crucially, and this goes to a bigger point, you have no say over what the rules are in that single market.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) points to comments by its Norwegian counterpart Finance Norway on its experiences outside the EU.

Finance Norway director Ellen Bramness Arvidsson said Norway had only an observer status at key meetings.

She added: ”We can propose and argue, but have no power to amend or vote on the rules that affect us. It is frustrating to ‘sit in the corridor’ while others decide rules which are then handed to you without discussion.”

The CBI said the UK had a good track record in shaping EU legislation, but leaving the EU would exclude it from negotiations.

ABI director general Huw Evans said: “Supporters of a Norwegian-style option should heed the warnings coming from Norway. Norway’s insurance leaders say the UK has a better deal at the heart of the EU than Norway does – since Norway is always outside the room where the big decisions are taken.”

Earlier this month, ABI director of regulation Hugh Savill said that leaving the EU could remove the passport that gives insurers access to the single market.

“The passport is really important to British insurers. We sell £21bn more insurance to other members of the EU than they do to us,” he said.

“If the decision of the 23 June Referendum is to leave the EU, nobody knows what will happen to these passporting rights.”