Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Norway has no influence?

Norway has no influence in the EU? Well, so what if it doesn't? Norway doesn't have influence in US government decisions either. Nor does the EU for that matter. That's how national governments work. We are saying that the EU is a federalist project with the ambition of becoming a new country, and while we would be happy to be friends and allies with that country, we don't want to be a county of it. 

But this is not to say Norway does not have influence at all. It does have a veto if EU law contradicts its own constitution. Moreover, a recent EFTA report shows that more than 90 percent of the laws of the single market include policy areas covered by UN or other global bodies. Norway has more influence in drafting laws originating from these sources than Britain, which often has to accept the "common position" agreed within the EU.

Much of modern law is made at an international level, along with trade rules, by ASA, Basel2, UNECE, Codex Alimentarius, WTO, NAFO and whole host of bodies few have ever heard of, where the EU takes our seat and negotiates on our behalf. It's Brussels sitting by the fax waiting to be told what the law is. Moreover, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, a Norwegian minister, flatly denies Norway has no EU level influence. Norway has more influence than we do.

Leaving the EU does not mean leaving the single market, and as a strong player in the EEA and EFTA we have enough clout to play the EU at it's own game while being free to join the global community. We would still keep the four freedoms of the single market. Those are good things, but we can easily lose the ECHR that prevents us putting rational constraints on immigration and asylum where necessary.

This doesn't mean we lose workers rights or human rights. We would still be a large player in the International Labour Organisation (where EU labour laws come from) and Britain has always been at the very forefront of human rights in the modern era.