Daily Management Review

The British Precedent Comes Further: Norway is Next


The precedent of Britain came faster than many experts expected. Norway plans to significantly reduce payments to foreign workers from the EU, as London did.

Formally, Norway is not an EU member, but in fact, the country is in the block’s sphere of influence. Just a couple of decades ago, Norway had to copy 75% of EU laws in order to comply with the trade and business standards of the single market. Now the Norwegian policy, inspired by the British colleagues’ example, want more independence.

Arve Kambe, a member of the ruling Conservative Party and chairman of the labor and social welfare committee, said: "Thanks to the UK, now we too can solve some of our problems. New options in the field of remuneration seemed especially interesting to us".

Not to mention the salaries themselves, Norway spends tens of millions of dollars on social payments to migrant workers from the EU (family support and so on). Mr. Kambe tells about the following problem: payments are calculated based on the average household expenditure in Norway, and the money goes mainly to Poland, Bulgaria and other EU countries, where the cost of living is much lower. Consequently, the payments should be radically reduced.

The whole situation is rather strange in Norway. The Scandinavian country spends about $ 1 billion a year to support various pan-European programs, while it has almost no right to vote, which pertain only to formal EU members. Of course, there are pluses in the joint trade zone. About 60% of turnover in Norway fall on Europe, the country is a major supplier of natural gas to Britain. However, Norway could take part not only in the general trade, but also in its own lawmaking.

The ruling party is joined by the opposition. Liv Navarsete, representing the "Center Party ", is foe to the EU, saying that Brussels too often refused Norway’s initiatives. It is time to become more independent.
Authorities in Norway carried out the first national referendum on joining the EU back in 1972. The Norwegians then voted "against". In 1994, a second attempt also ended in failure. Recently, a large-scale survey was conducted, which revealed that 72% of Norwegians continue to act strongly against tying up with the EU.

source: bloomberg.com