I am part Norwegian. As a Eurosceptic, there is one feature of Norway’s culture that makes it stand out for me: it is not a member of the EU. According to Europhiles, this should mean Norway is an isolated, hopeless case that can only hope to have economic success if it joins the EU. At first, it would seem Norway is at a hopeless disadvantage.
In Norway, they speak Norwegian, a language only spoken in that country. Almost all of the country is made up of jagged, avalanche-prone mountains and Norway is largely unsuitable for growing crops. Large tracts of the country are literally arctic in terms of their harshness. The population is a mere 5 million, less than half the population of London. Norway does not possess nuclear weapons, major financial centres or a UN Security Council seat. Yet in many ways, they have shown it is possible to stay outside the EU and still remain both a global player, and economically successful.
Perhaps the most striking statistic is how wealthy Norway gets from EU trade. Europhiles argue that countries like Norway which are not members but trade with the EU have to have EU regulations yet have no ‘influence’ in how those rules are made. Some Europhiles call this ‘Government by fax’ and in their fantasy world, glum faced Norwegian officials sit around with no input waiting for faxes from the EU on trade regulations. Norway is not an EU member, but pays €340 million per year to the EU in order to have access to its market. At first, it looks like Norway has a hard deal. But the truth is very different.
In exchange for that down payment of €340 million, Norway gets access to the EU trade market. Norway has a trade surplus of a massive €48.3 BILLION with the EU. In other words, Norway gets 140 times as much out of the EU as they pay to get in. And they don’t get lumbered with EU laws, EU Common policies or mass EU immigration. To put it in context, €340 million is about the cost of just one premiership football team’s entire first squad and we have 20 of those. So, for 5% of the Premiership’s players, we could buy access into the EU, make 140 times as much money back and not get EU laws and policies with it. That sounds like a hell of a deal.
Europhiles also claim you need to be an EU member to be a global player. Norway is in fact also a major global player. Far from being an ‘isolated’ non-EU state, it is very active in international affairs. It organised the Oslo Peace Accords to try and settle the Israel-Palestine affair. It donates generous sums to the world’s poor and provides vaccines and medical assistance in disaster zones. Norway is a vocal member of the UN, even if it doesn’t have a Security Council seat.
In short, Norway has nothing like the potential advantages the UK has, yet still gets an infinitely better deal out of the EU that Britain does being ‘at the heart of Europe’ as our Europhile elites claim. With the referendum looming, Norway is a country we may wish to think about.