Business leaders and politicians are discussing the possibility of the UK joining the EU as an associate member.
Why it matters
The potential for the UK to rejoin the EU as an associate member is significant as it could lead to closer economic ties and remove trade barriers.
What the papers say
The Independent says that business bosses and trade chiefs are welcoming the idea of associate membership, as it would make trading with the EU more seamless and improve productivity. However, Labour has dismissed the idea as a non-starter. The Guardian reports that the proposal for associate membership is part of a wider plan for EU reform, which includes creating four tiers of membership and preparing for the potential enlargement of the EU. The Times highlights that the proposal has been met with mixed reactions, with some welcoming the idea of closer integration and others accusing EU countries of desperation.
How we got here
The idea of associate membership has been proposed by France and Germany as a way to rebuild the UK's ties with the EU following Brexit.
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