Norway PM’s message to Cameron

At 4:30pm today David Cameron is to hold a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the reported message she brings with her will no doubt be seized on by those campaigning for the UK to remain a member of the European Union. Solberg’s belief is that it is in Norway’s interests for the UK to remain in the EU, where it could act as a break on those pushing for closer integration.

Against that view consideration has to be given to the forthcoming convention and IGC about treaty change; and were the Spinelli Group’s ideas for a new treaty to be incorporated, then Solberg is going to have the same problem that will face Cameron – join in or accept associated membership.

We can therefore expect more of the ‘fax democracy’ meme; although one can but hope that it will also be reported that Norway has a few problems of her own where tax on cheese is concerned plus the fact that it is also reported that she has failed to implement over 400 directives (including the 3rd Postal Directive) and thus stands accused by the Commission of obstructing the Single Market.




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Norway’s Centre-Right wins

As predicted by Norwegian opinion polls, parties of the centre-right have won power in the recent general election, with Ema Solberg, leader of the Conservative party having the tricky job of forming a coalition.

More later……

Norway about to be “unpopular” yet again?

From Norway News and The Foreigner (both Norwegian newspapers) comes hints of yet another “Norwegian Rebellion” against the European Union whereby Norway could possibly invoke Article 103 of the EEA Agreement – as they did with the Third Postal Directive. For Norwegian “background”, where the Schengen Agreement is concerned, one can do no better than refer here.

An interesting point arises from that article from the Norwegian mission to the EU in that if: “the Mixed Committee allows the four associated non-EU countries to  participate at all levels of the Schengen cooperation (my emphasis); this questions the meme that Norway has no say in the process of EU legislation – but I digress? That these two Norwegian newspaper articles are areas “worth keeping an eye on” must surely be an understatement?

Consider also what fun the UK could have where blocking EU legislation is concerned were we to, temporarily, reapply – and be accepted – for membership of EFTA and the EEA while we “sort out” a more amicable agreement with the European Union when we invoke Article 50.

When one thinks that an EFTA grouping of the UK, Norway, Iceland – joined by say the Czechs, the Finns and a few others (domino effect of the UK leaving the EU) – the EU could, quite painlessly, be killed stone dead.

And what is not to like about that scenario?

Addendum: ack to @PurpleRevlutio on Twitter for bring both articles to my attention!





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Can’t wait for Norway to see this…….

If they haven’t already – which they no doubt have!

I have just come across this from the European Union (last month) about postal regulation in relation to the Single Market; from which:

“The purpose of Community policy in the postal sector is to complete the internal market for postal services and to ensure, through an appropriate regulatory framework, that efficient, reliable and good-quality postal services are available throughout the European Union to all its citizens at affordable prices. The importance of postal services both for the economic prosperity and social well-being and cohesion of the EU make this a priority area for Community action.”

One can also wonder, for example – bearing in mind point 2 of the Objectives – how this will affect the Document Exchange (DX) system?

As Norway has flatly refused to implement the Third Postal Directive one has to wonder what chance a Fourth Postal Directive might have in that country. Of course, Norway not being a member of the EU can thumb it’s nose if it wishes to – the UK, as a member, cannot.

Fireworks on the horizon?

Afterthought (22:10): And where is Ukip on this latest idea? Do they even know about it? Bearing in mind their lack of leadership on matters EU, probably not!



EU “cheesed off” with Norway

Courtesy of @PurpleRevolutio on Twitter comes this article which appeared in the Norway Post last Friday. This raising of tariffs on cheese and imported meat also appeared on the News in English website with two further articles here and here. The Norway Post quotes Minister of Agriculture Trygve Slagsvold Veum stating: “We make the decisions, not Brussels”.

Needless to say as competence for food and agriculture rests with Norway -and not Brussels – all the EU can do is issue “threats” of retaliatory action. This is not of course the first time that Norway has refused to buckle under to the EU – it will be recalled that that country refused to implement a postal directive and is also refusing to implement new single-market regulations on the safety of oil rigs.

By now the EU must consider Norway to be a thorn in their side – unfortunately for the EU, were the UK able to rejoin EFTA, they should be aware they probably ain’t seen nothing yet; assuming of course we get a political party with real balls – not just Eds.


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Internet & Censorship – Iceland does “a Norway”

Over recent weeks and months there has been much talk among politicians about regulating the internet while, conversely, they discuss freedom of speech. Only last month the Guardian had an article on this subject while the Economist reported on a United Nations conference on telecommunications governance in Dubai last December. Business Insider also had a report on this conference as did the Independent.

We now turn to “little” Iceland – readers may recall that this is a country will less inhabitants than Croydon, yet has its own government, but I digress – who it would appear has done “a Norway”, of which more shortly.

Courtesy of Ian Parker-Joseph I learn of the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), from which:

“On June 16th 2010 the Icelandic Parliament passed a proposal for a parliamentary resolution tasking the government to introduce a new legislative regime to protect and strengthen modern freedom of expression. The proposal was passed by votes from parliament members of all parties.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, the chief sponsor in parliament of the IMMI proposal said: “Iceland will become the inverse of a tax haven; by offering journalists and publishers some of the most powerful protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. Tax havens aim is to make everything opaque. Our aim is to make everything transparent.”.”

To return to the matter of Iceland doing “a Norway” readers will recall that on 14th December last year I pointed out that Norway had refused to implement the 3rd Postal Directive – well it seems Norway is not the only EFTA member with backbone. From this pdf (page 7):


(click to enlarge)

Something which I believe it is correct to say Iceland still refuses to do.

From the FAQ section of the hosting data we find:

I found content on website hosted on your servers that I find offensive. How can I ask you to remove it?

We are a free speech hosting provider and the cost of that is that there may be content hosted on our servers that some people might find offensive. Once we would start taking down such web sites, then we are no longer a free speech hosting service provider.

How do you react if you receive a complaint regarding site content hosted on your servers?

In case the site does not contain anything illegal and it’s content is not against our TOS, we ignore such complaints. Privacy of our clients is really important for us. Therefore every time we are contacted by third party regarding our clients website or information we inform our client about it. We encourage you to read our TOS every time you visit our website.”

From the Terms of Service (names have been changed for obvious reasons):

Sites hosted on Orangewebsite’s service(s) are regulated only by Icelandic Law.

Orangewebsite is not in a position to investigate and validate or invalidate the veracity of individual defamation claims, which is why we rely on the legal system and courts to determine whether or not material is indeed considered defamatory.

In any case in which an Icelandic court order indicates material is defamatory, libelous, or slanderous in nature; we will comply and remove or disable access to the material in question.

To quote IPJ: In other words, unless they have an Icelandic court order, they can run, hop, skip and complain as much as they like…. Another interesting fact is that any person complaining has to appear in person, so sending a lawyer to plead your case just ain’t gonna happen.

Anyone interested hosting their blog in Iceland? Then refer to the right hand side bar on this blog!

Norway’s options – a report

On 19 January 2012, a record 170 participants from both the public and private sectors attended the EFTA Secretariat’s biannual seminar on the EEA.

What I have only just discovered is that in November last year a report was published, entitled:The Alternative Report – Alternatives to the current EEA Agreement(opens in pdf).

The report looks at various alternatives to trading with the EU and the alternatives range from not having a separate trade agreement with the EU, through variations of bilateral and regional trade agreements to compensate for the EEA. Then variations of the EEA by which the agreement plays a lesser role than it does today through renegotiation or through the scope of action in the agreement being far better utilised, to alternatives that involve deeper cooperation with the EU than in the current EEA agreement.

While a weighty 190 plus pages, it is a fascinating read and is, in my opinion, a useful addition to anyone’s library as a point of reference.




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Norway and GMO Potatos

Richard North, EUREferendum, has another post “blowing apart” the myth that Norway has no say in EU legislation – while at the same time pointing out that this is an extremely strange outcome as David Cameron is never wrong.

In regard to the latter point, one can only quote F.A. Hayek:

“The world is full of intellects whose desires have outstripped their understanding.”

Setting to one side for the moment FUD, where Cameron and this story is concerned he must qualify for the acronym, SPUD: Stupid Political Upstart Dunderhead.

Just suggesting………….

More Norway news


Following the post by Richard North, EUReferendum, on the subject of Norway possibly being the recipient of EU fines for non-implementation of 400 Directives comes further news that Norway is a tad unhappy about her relationship with the EU and that Stoltenberg’s coalition partners, often critical of both the EU and the EEA pact, had sparked speculation about a possible re-negotiation.

Norway’s anti-EU Center Party (Senterpartiet, SP) is firmly opposed both to EU-membership and the current EEA-agreement. Center Party leader Liv Signe Navarsete commented in December that she envisaged three alternatives; “Join the EU, change the EEA-agreeement or leave the EEA. The first is not an option.” This week, Navarsete had to concede that the latter two were not actual options either, allegedly after pressure from the prime minister.

Meanwhile, the government coalition’s third partner, the Socialist Left party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti, SV), has not directly called for re-negotiation but also has made critical comments about the EEA pact that sparked speculation. It clarified its stand this week as well, by stating that “we wish to rule on the same foreign policy  platform we have today where we are a member of the EEA, not the EU.”

It will be noted that neither has Henning Olaussen, head of the major anti-EU organization in Norway, “No to the EU” (Nei til EU) been backward in coming forward in order to “stir the pot”.

Stoltenberg and Cameron met last year – no doubt, among other matters, to compare notes on the delights of coalition government.

Afterthought: As with the Swiss/EU “spat” over the use of bi-lateral agreements, so too is the Norway/EU “spat” starting to bubble nicely. Now, were did we all put our cauldrons and witches uniforms?

Norway does Christopher Booker

Norway News has reprinted, in full, Christopher Booker’s column in today’s Sunday Telegraph; a piece upon which Richard North, EUReferendum, has commented.

Unfortunately it would seem that the facility to comment on this article in Norway News is not made available, which is a great pity as such comments would I believe have been quite interesting to read.

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