Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Norway and the EU

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 12th January, 2011

The people of Norway have twice voted — by a narrow margin — to stay out of the European Union, even though many of the so-called opinion formers in Oslo favour membership. So it was interesting to get the (relatively new) Norwegian Ambassador Kim Traavik’s take on the matter when he spoke at an Association of European Journalists UK Section lunch at Europe House today. The Ambassador was speaking off the record, but that does not stop me making some background comments and personal observations. The bizarre situation Norway is now in is that it has to comply with EU law (being part of the European internal mrket, as well as the Schengen area), yet has no say in how such laws are formulated. Of course, Norwegians hardly look on their EU neighbours with envy. The country posts regular large surpluses thanks mainly to its oil and gas and has built up a massive sovereign wealth fund — investing some of that in Britain. But if Iceland is successul in its bid to join the EU, then Norway is going to find itself alone with tiny Leichtenstein in the rump European Economic Area. I don’t think that prospect bothers the Norwegians much, however. So whatever the EU’s fortunes over the next few years, I don’t think we will be seeing a third Norwegian approach re membership in the forseeable future.

(photo: EU-delgasjonen)

One Response to “Norway and the EU”

  1. Luis Vega said

    I always admired the Nordic sense of autonomy and independence. Now I better understand why.

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