Tag Archive: Norway


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………..as the British media gets interested in matters UK – whether, for example, Miliband is a loser; a view of someone who never ‘hodges‘ his bets, to an Iain who thinks that Clegg is still a muppet – unreported in our media has been the rumblings of disagreement in EEA negotiations between the EU and Norway over Norway’s contribution to the EU budget.

These negotiations began on 22nd January and were supposed to have been completed by the end of April, but are still on-going with Norway complaining bitterly about the increase that the EU is reported to have ‘demanded’. Neither side has agreed to discuss the amount the increase demanded involves, although it is intimated that it has doubled.

Oddly, as the Aftenposten report states, the main topic of the negotiations is not the 400 EU directives which Norway has yet to implement nor the tax imposed on imported cheese and meat.

I mention the last two points as the first rather neatly torpedoes David Cameron’s assertion that Norway is governed by fax and that it has to implement all EU directives without exception.

That Cameron is yet another of our politicians conveniently being economical with the actualité for his own ends – and he has form where this is concerned – is a subject on which I hope, in the coming weeks, to confront him.



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.



Gender equality – non-executive directors

On their website Ukip announce: An amendment that would allow governments to dissolve companies that do not adhere to a gender quota system of 40% in senior positions has been passed by the European Parliament today. Another amendment passed will mean that the under-represented gender will be given preferential treatment in the recruitment, selection and appointment of non-executive directors. The website also includes a statement from Paul Nuttall who condemns the decision as barmy, mad, bad and downright dangerous.

Firstly the press statement of Ukip is a tad disingenuous in that presently this matter is only in the form of a draft directive and has to go before the Council of Ministers for their agreement (decided by QMV) when they meet on 9th/10th December before it can become EU law.

At the time of writing, I have yet to find any reference to a EU Parliament amendment that would allow the governments of Member States to dissolve any company that did not adhere to a gender quota system of 40% in ‘senior positions’, but I am still looking. What an article on the Europa Newsroom website does state is that the EU Parliament has called for sanctions to be mandatory, rather than indicative, as the Commission proposes; while also calling for companies to be excluded from bidding in ‘public calls for tender’; and partial exclusion from the award of funding from the European structural funds. The EU Parliament has also departed from the Commission’s original proposal with their decision that there should be no possibility for Member States to exempt companies from the law where members of the underrepresented sex make up less than 10% of the workforce.

It is also worth mentioning that Ukip do not appear to understand the role of non-executive directors and the powers such have – but then why is that not a surprise? Also on the latter point that Ukip make in their press statement quoted above, it is worth reading exactly what the draft directive states on that particular point – which is not that which Ukip intimate.

There are a number of documents that readers may wish to read about this draft directive: the Europa Newsroom; (see latest stories section); a summary of the European Parliament plenary session; the draft directive; and surprise not, but somethingthat shows our old friend UNECE has had a finger in the pie, plus two papers on the subject here and here. We also find that Norway has enacted the 40% thingy long before the EU – but again I digress.

Together with Richard North, Autonomous Mind and The Boiling Frog, invariably I receive criticism for what is termed ‘Ukip bashing’ – but is it not justified? For Ukip and their spokesmen to put out vacuous comments which are economical with the actualité and then to be ‘found out’, does their standing as what they hope and purport to be, namely a leading anti-EU voice, no good whatsoever – in fact it can only do them harm as eventually those to whom they appeal will soon come to realise that the voice of Ukip, in common with every other political party, cannot be relied upon for the truth.

Perhaps they need to take a leaf out of the old tv series ‘Dragnet, which to paraphrase: Just the facts Sir, just the facts…..

Just a few observations……….

Afterthought: And we still have to ascertain the the additional bureaucratic costs of this draft directive, not just on companies, but also on the state.  The fact that the EU states this directive will have no additional cost on the EU budget is neither here nor there – it sure will have an effect on the costs incurred by companies; and on the budgets of Member States who, in turn, will only be able to recoup their costs by additional taxation on their cash cows people!


Norwegian election aftermath

From NorwayNewsinEnglish we learn that Norwegian politicians are extremely unhappy with how the result of their election is being reported in other countries, being particularly unhappy with the BBC and the Independent.

If Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide of the Labour Party is concerned about the reporting standards of two members of our media then he should come and live here permanently and suffer said standards on a daily basis.

In any event, did not Eide have some inkling of how skewed our media coverage is when it dutifully reported David Cameron’s misplaced and erroneous comments about Eide’s country being a recipient of fax democracy? Oh, hang on, I’ve just remembered that Eide was one of those with a pro-EU meme of his own.

One wonders how Eide would interpret the difference between news media misrepresenting the facts and a politician doing the same. Or, as would seem for politicians in general, is this by Eide another example of one rule for them and another for us?

Just asking, Mr. Eide, just asking………..

State of the EUnion address/Postal ‘sell-off’

It would seem that Richard North, EUReferendum, was not the only person to be underwhelmed with Barroso’s annual address, at least not where the author of this article is concerned.

Starting: The annual speech on the state of the European Union, delivered on September 11 by Commission President José Manuel Barroso, has not attracted much attention from European citizens: a curious paradox, when you consider that Europe is increasingly part of their daily lives; and ending: The extent to which Europe is embedded in both major political issues and mundane matters is remarkable, and so too is our ability to ignore this reality. In a word, Europe remains in a blind spot; the article in its entirety is worth a read.

The fact that Barroso’s speech, unlike that of POTUS, was not made during prime-time television is no doubt deliberate; and why? Because if people are to be led by the nose why not tell them when the majority have no means of listening. That the media outlets, especially those in the broadcasting section, can’t seem to be bothered informing those that purchase their services, is hardly surprising either.

Vos is a tad hard on his readership when he complains that while Europe is embedded in both major political issues and mundane matters, so too is our ability to ignore the reality – I know not about the situation in the Netherlands, but when have our political class, or our media class, deviated one step from their programmed silent course, to inform us?

An example of this ‘programmed silent course comes with today’s announcement by Michael Fallon, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, in regard to the privatisation of Royal Mail. Not one mention of Directive 97/67/EC; Directive 2002/39/EC; or Directive 2008/6/EC – all of which are intended to complete the Single Market in postal services throughout the EU and is something that has been confirmed by the EU Commission.

To my knowledge there exists not one directive or regulation demanding that the UK, or any other Member State, privatises its postal service, what is happening is as a consequence of the third postal directive. It is however worth mentioning once again that Norway refused to implement the third postal directive on the grounds that it recognised it meant the end of Norwegian state control – the UK, as a full member of the EU was forced to implement that directive, while Norway who is not a full member but a member of EFTA decided otherwise. 

It is noticeable from the Uncorrect version of Hansard that only two oblique references were made to the EU, most MPs being concerned about the Post Offices in their respective constituencies – so much for debating the issue. If one reads the comments contained in the PoliticsHome report one can but help spot the statement by Chukka Umunna that Labour could not make “any commitments” to renationalise the service, continues the programmed silent course by our elected representatives on matters EU.

How can we trust those who assure us they are honourable people when they lie to us on an almost daily basis? How is it that we allow ourselves, without demur, to be led by those with the morals of a crook? How can there be any vestige of democracy when such occurs?




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Norwegian Politics

Following my brief post yesterday The Local, News in English and The Foreigner have all updated their articles on the outcome of the recent elections in Norway.

So a hectic round of negotiations will begin with all four parties having trenchant positions on a variety of subjects, so Solberg’s task will not be easy even given her reputation for tact and firmness. It would appear that one of the largest problems she will have is resolving the differing views of each party on immigration, especially as Norway is subject to the regulation ensuring the free movement of people, something required by her membership of the EEA

With a government being formed ranging from centre-right to centre parties, immediately it will be at loggerheads on this issue with the European Union and more than likely among themselves. While Solberg and her party are, generally speaking, pro-EU, if they really want the job of government then compromise she must.

With her plans not to downsize Norway’s welfare system, but to privatise sections of it, swift reaction has already appeared with this article by Jan Kjærstad writing in Aftenposten. Complaining that his country’s DNA has changed, I would have thought that that was obvious with the free movement of people, rather than the changes he lists.

We must wait a couple of weeks at least to see what unfolds via the negotiations; and what reaction the eventually agreed positions produce from the electorate. As with the general election itself, so with the negotiations being held and it is one on which it will continue to be worth watching.


Immigration rears its Norwegian head

With parliamentary elections due in Norway on 9th September, the Progress Party(Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) has just lobbed a hand grenade into the campaign.

Having reportedly toned-down its far-right rhetoric, Frp has proposed – purely for discussion, it says – strict limits on immigration, including;  marriage should no longer be viewed as a reason for  non-Norwegians to obtain residence permission in Norway; no foreign citizen should be able to apply for Norwegian citizenship until they have lived and worked and paid taxes in Norway for at least 10 years, and have never gotten into trouble with police; and that any four-year-old child who does not speak and understand fluent Norwegian should be forced into Norwegian day care with the parents paying the full cost.

Needless to say the other non-socialist parties who are expected to form the next government have reacted in horror to these latest suggestions from Frp. This latest development will surely make the Norwegian election – and the run-up to it – a must-watch event.

H/T @Purplerevolutio on twitter for the lead.

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!




Daniel Hannan – Sense and NonSense

In his latest blogpost on the Telegraph website, Daniel Hannan has a pop at Roland Rudd and his lobbyist organisation Business for New Europe – and rightly so.

While I have no real quibble with the content of this article where I do take exception is with the content of the article to which he links here, one written in December last year.

In making the case for a Swiss type of arrangement with the European Union, as against that of Norway, in respect of the latter he quotes a great number of figures both for and against about the number of EU laws that Norway has had to implement.

Preceding those figures mentioned above, Hannan writes:

“The chief anomaly in the EEA – the fact that Norway has to apply EU laws over which it has had no say – is more of a problem in theory than in practice.” 

And continues:

“Still, the anomaly is there.”

For a leading politician, one who has spent his political life as an elected representative in the European Union, not to know that Norway has had a say in EU law through its membership of UNECE and Codex, for example, is unforgivable. What is also unforgivable is that he appears not to know that EEA nations have the right to veto any EU legislation – which Norway did in respect of the Third Postal Directive; and looks likely to so do again, this time over the question of safety on oil rigs.

Tsk, Daniel, tsk, tsk…….


David's Musings


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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!



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