Norwegians growing sceptical of EEA arrangement

Whilst some Remainer MPs push for an ultra-watered down Brexit in the style of a ‘Norway-style’ exit, many Norwegians are actually pushing back against the arrangement themselves.

Inside the European Economic Area, Norway still has to accept EU rules and freedom of movement which is causing increasing friction in a country where only around 20% people want to join the European Union and around 70% oppose such a move.

As Bloomberg report that LO (Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions) are coming under some pressure to start opposing EEA membership.

Their President, Hans-Christian Gabrielsen, has spoken of “unease” with the current relationship and has said that “first and foremost related to the consequences of social dumping and hiring of foreign labour”.

Sigbjorn Gjelsvik, of the anti-EEA Centre Party, has said that the EEA arrangement “intervenes with democracy and overrides labour laws and collective bargaining agreements”.

The Centre Party were the big gainers at the last Norwegian election, increasing from 10 to 18 seats. Their Leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has previously said: “We think the EEA transfers too much power from the Norwegian Parliament, which can be ousted in elections, to a bureaucracy that cannot be ousted in elections.”

On their website they insist they will always oppose EU membership and want a referendum to bin the EEA. They pledge to: “Go against all attempts to promote a Norwegian application for EU membership.

“Replace the EEA Agreement with trade and cooperation agreements with the EU. The Norwegian people themselves must influence the decision whether Norway should be a member of the EEA, and we have a future goal of a referendum on Norway’s EEA membership.” The latest polling as the anti-EEA Centre Party as the third most popular party.

This follows on from Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde putting forward the idea of a huge UK-US-Canada-Norway free trade agreement. Those who talk about the Norway option so much should see what those in the country are themselves now saying.

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