Tag Archives: Norway

A missed opportunity?

For those of us who keep a ‘close eye’ on ‘developments Brexit’ it will not have escaped the attention of some that amongst all the talk of the United Kingdom ceasing its membership of the European Union – while wishing the European Union no harm, etc, etc- only one voice has asked the question: why do we need the European Union? As an aside there were two voices, but one of them was a politician (of whom more in a minute) who, in the intervening period appears to have changed his tune – presumably because he was handed another ‘hymn sheet’ (you know the one: it contains the phrase: be a good boy,  ‘don’t make waves’, following which: behave, ‘fall into line’; and you’ll soon be a Secretary of State again). Oh, how are the mighty fallen – but resurrected once they have had their 15 minutes of ‘rebellious fame’.

I am at a loss to understand why any politician in our nation would wish to give the ‘kiss of life’ to an organization that is, in effect, breathing its last due to the fact that the need for its existence has been overtaken by events. Let us, initially, acknowledge that two men (Monnet and Salter) recognized a ‘gap in the market’, one which would bring them – and their disciples – power and fortune. Whether it brought them fortune or power is open to question as those two are now no longer with us – but it sure as hell has for their disciples.

It is a known fact that approximately 80% of what is called ‘EU law’ actually emanates from United Nation bodies – such as UNECE and Codex, to name but two – and whilst our politicians are, no doubt, well aware of this fact, that they do not acknowledge it is probably due to the fact that it diminishes their self-proclaimed right to ‘set our laws’. Knowing this as they do I, for one, find it incredulous that they appear willing to ‘prop-up’ a failing supra-national body which is no longer needed – if it ever was in the first place.

Amongst all the ranting about Theresa May’s views with regard to Brexit, as an aside I have to say I find it ludicrous that MPs appear so obsessed with the subject of whether EU nationals will have the right to remain in the UK once we have left (and vice-versa), when there are far more pressing subjects such as the continuation of trade – but I digress.

Guy Verhostadt has admitted on the BBC that the EU faces possible ‘disintegration’ and in this regard not much, if anything,  appears to have been mentioned by those bloggers who are considered ‘must reads’. Where ‘disintegration’ is concerned, I would suggest that too little has been focused on the possible upheaval that could be caused in the Brexit debate were Gert Wilders to succeed in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France; and adding in Denmark, together with the Eastern Europe Member States (Hungary and Poland spring to mind), just how many of these countries are waiting to see how the UK fares, prior to declaring they too wish to ‘jump ship’?

It cannot be denied that history shows the United Kingdom has not only ‘led the world’- but that it has also ‘led Europe’ – is it not time the UK resumed this leadership? Has- and is it not time – that our politicians held/have talks with the likes of Wilders, Le Pen and the other aforementioned nations with a view to accumulating a group of countries willing to speak with one voice; in effect saying to the EU: we don’t need you – we’re leaving.

In the first paragraph I mentioned two voices querying why we (the UK) need the European Union. One is Richard North (FlexCit: pp 200-210) and the other was Owen Paterson with a speech (google: owen paterson heritage foundation washington speech [should be top hit] – opens in pdf) given to the Heritage Foundation in Washington a few years ago – as I wrote, he appears to have changed his tune somewhat; or suffered a loss of memory?

Helle Haganau first came to the attention of most people when she appeared on a Newsnight programme and ‘stunned’ those of us interested in ‘matters EU’ by announcing that Norway is not ‘governed by fax’ (contrary to what we were led to believe at the time) and had a veto over EU directives and had exercised such where the Third Postal Directive was concerned.

While I have been an advocate of EFTA/EEA membership, as proposed by Richard North in FlexCit, in the interim period we may spend there it may not be the ‘bed of roses’ it appears. HelleHagenau has posted an article here – (click on ‘The EEA – A warning from Norway’ (opens in pdf – do read) which suggests that the EU has been ‘tightening its grip on the EEA’ in its usual ‘salami slicing’ – this would suggest that were we to follow the EFTA/EEA route there is much to beware.

This leads one to query whether there is something to be gained by investigating that which is suggested in paragraph six of this article? Were the UK and France to ‘leave’ (bearing in mind they are both nuclear powers  and have an ‘armed might’ worthy of consideration), notwithstanding the loss of possibly four more member states; might that not put the boot on the other foot where UK negotiations were concerned?

Food for thought……………?

 

 

 

 

 

Lies, Damned Lies and Facts

Yesterday, in the House of Commons, David Cameron repeated his dismissal of the ‘Norway Option’ as an alternative form of membership of the European Union, stating that Norway has no seat at the table and no ability to negotiate – something he repeated on Facebook.

Readers will recall my handing David Cameron a ‘dossier, during a meeting at his constituency office in Witney. Readers will also recall that in his response he stated that he could not agree with a number of the points I made, eventually informing me that he was drawing our correspondence to a close. In that dossier facts were presented to David Cameron which showed that Norway does have a seat at top tables and does have the ability to negotiate as a result of being heavily involved in the various stages by which EU law is implemented.

If David Cameron will not take on board my views, then perhaps he will those of the EFTA website and the words of an eminent authority on matters EU. In respect of the latter, permission from that authority was sought and given for me to forward David Cameron a copy of FlexCit. While FlexCit is a comprehensive explanation of how the UK can disengage from the EU, there are further references to fact in relation to Norway’s relationship with the EU. Norway does not have a vote within the EU, that is a well known fact and one that is not disputed; but Norway does not need a vote as by the time the EU implements ‘law’, said ‘law’ has already been agreed within United Nations bodies with Norway having had a seat at the table where such law was formulated; coupled with the fact that the EU is mandated to consult with EFTA on the implementation of EU law. In this regard it is worth mentioning page 204 of FlexCit which provides an example of Norway’s ‘influence’ where the formation of EU law is concerned.

That David Cameron continues to misrepresent the position of Norway in respect of her dealings with the European Union (no, let us be brutally honest: he continues to lie) cannot be allowed to continue. To this end I felt duty bound to yet again email David Cameron; the text of which follows:

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Following my move to Co Durham it is acknowedged that you are no longer my Member of Parliament, however you are the Prime Minister of this country and if we are to have any vestige of democracy then any member of the electorate must have the opportunity of contacting you in order to hold you to account; and expect to receive the courtesy of a detailed reply.

Over the last few days you have been quite vociferous on the question of what is known as the ‘Norway Option’, maintaining that country has no seat at the table and has no ability to negotiate. You are also on record as stating that Norway pays as much per head to the EU as do we.

You and I know that those statements are a misrepresentation of the facts – in truth, ‘misrepresentation’ is perhaps the wrong word to use as it is plain that you have been less than candid.

To deal with the last point first: as has been pointed out elsewhere, the Norwegian government’s own figures show that its total EU mandated payments (gross) are approximately £435m (€600m) per annum. With a population of five million, that is approximately £86 (€120) per head (gross). Net payments, however, are about £340m (€470m) per annum, or about £68 (€94) per head. In 2014, the UK gross contributions to the EU were £19.2bn, less £4.9bn rebate. That gives an equivalent gross payment of £14.3bn. After rebates and other receipts, our net contribution was £9.8 bn. With a population of 64 million, that puts our gross contribution (without rebate) at £300 per head, our equivalent gross payment at £223 per head, and our net per capita payment £153 per annum – more than twice the Norwegian payments.

You are also on record as stating that Norway pays but has no say [on the rules] – that statement competely denies the huge amount of consultation by EFTA states within the EEA decision making process (see attachment)

.You maintain that Norway is not present at the table where decisions are taken. This overlooks the influence that Norway exerts on global bodies – for example UNECE and Codex – which is where law emanates in the form of dual international quasi-legislation, or diqules. These are then handed down to countries and trade blocs, such as the EU, for implementation.

As someone who wishes fervently to cease our membership of the EU it pains me greatly to observe the paucity of the arguments being presented by the, so far, two groups vying to become the ‘lead’ organisation in the forthcoming referendum. Both exhibit a common trait with you, in that none of you appear to know that about which you speak and write.

As a further attachment please find a copy of FlexCit, the work of an eminent authority on the European Union, namely Dr. Richard North. This work explains how this country can exit the EU painlessly (the Norway Option being but the first – and temporary – step, thus allowing businesses to retain access to the single market, while the lengthy process of unpicking 40 years of our enforced membership is carried out).

While FlexCit will undoubtedly increase your understanding of matters EU and global governance, especially where the subject of Norway and her influence is concerned; it will also mean that, having read it, your need to be less than candid will become unnecessary.

Yours sincerely,

David Phipps

Needless to say any response from David Cameron will, as usual, be made public on this blog.

The Norway Option

I note, courtesy of The Economic Voice, that which is referred to as ‘The Norway Option’ has reared its head again with the publication of a Civitas paper authored by Jonathon Lindsell.

‘The Norway Option’, for the benefit of new readers, deals with how that country trades with the European Union while maintaining the relationship at  what might be termed ‘arms length’.

This report by Jonathan Lindsell shows how Norway does have influence where the introduction of ‘EU Law’ is concerned, not only by her mandated participation in that process, but also by her membership of standards-setting bodies such as Codex and UNECE, to name but two.

Needless to say there are still those who are adamant that Norway does not have influence, an example of which is this article, one appearing today in the Daily Telegraph and being authored by Ben Wright – incidentally, the IEA paper to which he refers can be read here. It is difficult enough to attempt to nullify this repetitive meme by means of writing and it becomes even more difficult when in debate. Let me relate, briefly, an incident which only occurred last Thursday:

I had been invited to speak at a public school in Oxfordshire about the UK’s membership of the European Union and in particular the costs and benefits of that membership, where my ‘opponent’ was one Graham Jones – a Liberal Democrat and former Oxford City Councillor (he lost his seat last year). Speaking about Norway and her relationship with the European Union, having carefully explained about the derivation of ‘law’ and the setting of ‘standards’ by bodies under the aegis of the United Nations; having explained how the European Commission is mandated, under the EEA, to involve Norway in pre-legislative discussions; having explained that as a result of that requirement Norway sits on more than 200 European Union Committees; having explained that, as a last resort, Norway has the power of veto over European Union legislation – Graham Jones then told the audience that I was completely wrong and that, regardless of what I had said, Norway had no say whatsoever in the formation of ‘EU Law’!

That any forthcoming Referendum campaign on the UK’s membership of the European Union may well become personal and vindictive was illustrated at the aforementioned venue when I was subjected to what can only be described as an attempted ‘character assassination’ by Graham Jones, one which branded me a racist and Islamophobe. That this failed can only again be illustrated by the teacher, who organised the debate, writing to the think tank who sponsored it, complaining bitterly at the unwarranted attack, the substance of which he and the other members of staff present felt uncomfortable with; coupled with the fact that a number of the pupils that formed the audience kept me talking in the car park afterwards about democracy and our lack of it.

When I have yet to see any mention in the MSM of Lindsell’s paper (although I may have missed it, having been a tad distracted the past few days) then one could say the chips are stacked against a free and fair ‘referendum debate’ – neither are matters helped when those with opposing views to yourself ignore facts and resort to personal abuse.