EU in danger as Norwegian Eurosceptics skyrocket in polls after calling for ‘alternative’ | World | New
Brexit: Sandell denounces the “shameful” absence of an agreement with Norway
Norway has one of the closest working relations with the EU of a non-member state. In 1994, he struck a deal that saw him promise to adhere to the bloc’s broad rules. From there, it would also pay billions of euros in subsidies for access to the single market.
However, the perception of Brussels in Norway seems to be changing.
In recent years, the Center Party (Sp) – the main Eurosceptic formation in the country – has grown in popularity.
He now wants a new, more flexible deal, and his vigorous pursuit of a reset has put future relations with Brussels back at the forefront of Norwegian politics.
Last year, with Sp leading the polls, Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, Sp’s lawmaker and spokesperson on EU relations, described the group’s intentions to distance Norway from the bloc.
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He said: “We need to discuss the alternatives.
“The deal we have now is bad.”
His words echoed those of many Brexit campaigners in the run-up to the 2016 vote.
For the EU, any outbreak with Norway would add to the already unstable relationship it has with its northern border.
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Historically, Sweden and Denmark have been opposed to the idea of the EU and continue to dodge monetary union.
Eurosceptic parties in these countries are also moving closer to the mainstream.
Norway’s deal – the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) – allowed the country to retain more control over key parts of its economy, especially its fishing grounds, but required it to follow big chunks of EU policy on which, as far as no, he has no say.
He is not satisfied with this constant evolution – the new EU rules are also passed on to Oslo – the outsourcing of political control on which Sp operates.
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In 2017, Erik O. Eriksen, a political scientist at the University of Oslo, noted in an analytical article for the London School of Economics (LSE) blog that the so-called “Norway option equates to a self-inflicted submission ”.
On Norway’s decision not to join the EU in two separate referendums, Mr Erisken wrote: “Paradoxically, however, the ‘no’ vote ended up undermining Norwegian sovereignty.”
Mr Gjelsvik said Sp wanted something closer to a “traditional trade deal like Canada has done” – exactly what Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted for the UK.
But if it seeks such an arrangement, Norway will likely meet the same resistance in Brussels as Mr Johnson.
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However, if one is to trust public opinion, Norway could be heading in this direction.
According to the Politico poll, as Sp’s popularity peaked in December 2020, he is once again gaining ground.
From mid-May to the present day, Sp has climbed two percentage points while maintaining an upward curve.
That’s when the ruling Conservative Party fell, currently at 22 percent, and the Labor Party stagnated at 24 percent.
This is all the more salient given that Norway has its general elections in less than two months, on September 13.
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Currently, EU leaders argue that if a state is to gain access to its internal market, it must politically align with Brussels.
The EU has shown that it is ready to risk a no-deal outcome rather than compromise on this fundamental idea.
However, it might never go that far in the case of Norway.
According to Politico: “A majority of Norwegian lawmakers are still opposed to a negotiation of the EEA deal and should do so also after the general elections next September, analysts say.”
Even if Sp fails to garner support for a full renegotiation of the EEA deal it currently has, it could still cause a lot of disruption to the EU.
It is working to reduce the amount that Norway pays in grants to Brussels from the 2.7 billion euros (£ 2.3 billion) it gave in 2014-2021.