A statement from the Board of No to EU in Norway
From the campaign in 1994 to keep Norway out of EU, No to EU is familiar with the tactics the British people currently are experiencing.
No to EU is watching the debate in the UK with great interest. Whether the UK leaves the EU or remains in the union is entirely for the British people to decide. The EU Commission in Brussels must also respect this fact.
We know from our own experience the EU system and the government apparatus will do everything possible to inject fear into people about the consequences of leaving the EU.
The disaster stories of lost jobs and a plummeting pound if the UK would dare leave the union, sound desperately familiar to No to EU. Prior to the referenda on EU membership in Norway in 1972 and 1994, the Norwegian people were told the industry would flee the country and 100,000 jobs would be lost if we voted no to the EU.
The reality has turned out to be quite the opposite. Since 1994, the Norwegian economy has developed and grown much more than the economies in EU member states. Norway has full sovereignty in the agricultural and fishery sectors, and the management of the Norwegian fisheries has been a great success.
British EU supporters, with the help of the Norwegian government, present Norway’s association to the EU through the EEA Agreement as a disaster. The British government has repeated the myth that Norway must accept three-quarters of EU laws and regulations. The reality is that Norway has implemented less than 10 percent of the laws and regulations, which the EU has adopted in the period 2000-2013. In addition, the EEA Agreement has a clause enabling Norway to refuse the implementation of new EU rules, a right EU member states do not have.
The Norwegian Government claims the EEA Agreement is a poor model for the UK. On the other hand, it is not willing to look at alternatives to the EEA Agreement for Norway, or use the flexibility permitted by the refusal clause. No to EU wants to end this undemocratic paradox, by replacing the EEA Agreement with a modern trade agreement with EU.
From the beginning of No to EU’s history, our aim has been to safeguard our democracy, defend our sovereignty and our natural resources. Our stance is based on international solidarity with people, both in the EU and in developing countries. Outside the EU, Norway has an independent voice on the international scene.
A UK outside the EU will be an interesting partner for Norway in achieving a modern trade agreement with the EU, preferably through EFTA, where we have cooperated previously.