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$130,000 reward offered for planning UK exit from EU

The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) calls for submissions that outline how Britain could leave the European Union without undue friction.

UK exit EUEnlarge
British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers his long-awaited speech on the UK's relationship with the EU on January 23, 2013 in London, England. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A prize of 100,000 euros ($130,000) will be given to the best plan for the UK to leave the European Union, a free market think tank announced on Tuesday.

The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) is holding the "Blueprint for Britain" competition which aims to see how the UK could hypothetically fulfill an orderly exit from the EU. The plan will also need to map out how the country might fit into the new geopolitical and economic landscape that might follow.

A referendum bill which could lead to allowing Britons to vote on whether they want to stay in the EU has so far passed the first stage of parliamentary discussions. The UK has been part of the EU since 1973.

The liberal think tank, which has offered the cash prize in euros rather than pounds, says submissions around 2,000 words are invited from individuals, groups of individuals, academia and corporate bodies such as consultancy firms, law firms, accounting firms, think tanks and investment banks.

"An 'out' vote in a British referendum would be a major historic geopolitical and economic event, perhaps even comparable with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union and reunification of Germany," the IEA said in a press release.

"It is time, therefore, that the UK explores the process of withdrawal and its economic and political consequences."

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Submissions should focus on how laws are changed after a possible "Brixit" and how global trade is renegotiated, it said. The deadline for entries is September 16 and the judging panel includes Nigel Lawson, Conservative finance minister during the 1980s - who has previously called for a UK exit, historian David Starkey, numerous figures from London's financial world including Roger Bootle, founder of Capital Economics, and a Labour opposition politician.

The UK's membership of the EU has been a hot topic in the country in recent months with the Conservative Party - which currently heads a coalition government - losing ground to a eurosceptic U.K. Independence Party in local elections. In the latest poll by research firm IPSOS Mori in November, 48 percent of people asked said they would leave the EU immediately, 44 percent said they would stay in.

The current parliamentary bill - which proposes a vote by 2017 - was voted through its first stage unanimously on July 6, but opposition Labour lawmakers and Liberal Democrats - the Conservative's junior coalition partner - boycotted the vote en masse. Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg dubbed the bill a "complete stunt" when speaking to the BBC and it is likely that any successful will fail to be made into law due to the strength of opposition within the government.

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