Norway PM's savage EU verdict laid bare: 'Ugly and has lots of problems!'

In 1994, Norway issued the EU a major blow as its population rejected the chance to join the bloc for the second time. The country’s then Prime Minister – Gro Harlem Brundtland – made Norwegian membership of the EU her main political goal for the four years prior to the referendum. But in a remarkably similar result to the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum, the country voted no by a margin of 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent.

Norway first rejected membership of the EEC – the precursor to the EU – in 1972.

And the country’s euroscepticism persists, as Erna Solberg – Norway’s current Prime Minister – issued a damning assessment of the bloc in 2016, just days before the UK’s Brexit vote.

Ms Solberg told Politico: “The EU has a lot of problems on [its] own, so it is not very attractive.”

Norway receives access to most of the EU’s internal market through membership of the European Economic Area. 

That means goods, services and labour flow freely between Norway and the EU. 

In return, Norway has to adopt a large number of EU laws without having a formal say in how they are shaped.

Ms Solberg then claimed Britain would struggle with a similar relationship, noting: “That type of connection is going to be difficult for Britain, because then Brussels will decide without the Brits being able to participate in the decision-making.”

READ MORE: Norway’s brutal verdict on Scotland’s EFTA entry revealed

In a 2018 report by The Independent, Jonas Helseth, a Norwegian ex-EU adviser, appeared to agree as he explained why Britain could never accept Norway’s model post-Brexit.

Mr Helseth, now the director of Bellona Europa, wrote: “Firstly, what might seem comfortable enough for Norway would hardly prove so for Britain. 

“Norway does indeed have access to the EU single market without full EU membership, but that comes at a democratic cost.

“In fact, it is an illusion: I would call it membership without a vote. Even Norway’s own EU minister admitted as much.

“Ironically, non-member Norway is among the countries most efficient in adopting EU directives – in most cases without debate.

“So why is there so little outrage? Again not without irony, it seems that although Norway twice rejected EU membership, Norwegians appear to suffer very little from all this EU regulation imposed on them.”

EU humiliated: Damning reason Norway rejected membership [INSIGHT]

EU assumed Norway would join ‘two to five years after it voted no’ [ANALYSIS]
UK fishing fury: How bust-up sparked fears of WAR at sea [ARCHIVE]

Mr Helseth argued that Britons would not feel the same.

He explained: “Norwegians tend to take the view that, as a country of five million, Norway’s vote would seldom tip the scales in EU decision making. Generally it aligns with its Nordic neighbours, Britain and the Netherlands on key matters such as labour market flexibility and free trade.

“Given the horse-trading nature of EU politics, Norway might have more often punched above its weight than its people assumed if it were an EU member. Finland, with a similar population size, has regularly proven that possible.

“But indeed, Norway would rarely be setting the agenda; its absence from EU decision making should therefore matter mainly to Norwegians, and less so to others. Should Britain decide to leave, however, the scales would tip for real.”

Mr Helseth claimed the UK would feel obliged to keep implementing EU regulations to maintain market access.

He concluded: “While I may not personally agree with all UK positions, British influence in EU politics is to my mind critical in retaining a balanced EU that can secure our welfare and progress. 

“I firmly believe it is in Britain’s interest to refine and widen that influence, rather than leaving the playing field entirely to other EU powers.”


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button