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Well, that is a good question, and I think there are at least a couple of historical and political realities that that have to be considered when addressing the issue of Norwegian EU membership.

First of all I think it is a question of perceived independence.  Many Norwegians have the perception that by joining the EU Norway will loose its independence.  In comparison to other European states Norway got its independence rather late, in 1905.  Before that we were a "junior nation" under Swedish dominance starting from 1814 and before that, under Danish rule for about 400 years.  That is why national independence has become such an important part of the nation's identity and thus can be directly linked to the sovereignty and administration of the natural resources, i.e. Oil, gas and fish.  

What is worth noting is that the nation's natural resources are directly linked to the socio-economic welfare of the nation, because most of Norway's industry is directly linked to the harvesting of these resources.  Any insecurity or discourse over the sovereignty and administration of these resources, make Norwegians sceptical, because it could have a direct bearing on the welfare of the Norwegian people.

Concerning the relation between EU sceptics and their political views the picture are a bit more complicated, but if we were to categorize their views according to their party affiliation you could say that the majority in the Conservative party (Høyre) are supporters of a Norwegian membership and emphasizes that it would be good for the Norwegian industry.  The Norwegian Labour party are split in two on the EU membership question.  The majority are supporting a membership on the grounds that it would be both good for Norwegian industry and that it would give Norway access to the political decisions within the Union instead of just passively accepting the EU directives.  The minority on the other hand emphasizes the economical aspects of the Union and more or less looks upon it as a club for the rich countries.  

Both the Agrarian party (Senterpartiet) and the Socialist Left (Sosialistisk Venstre Parti) are opposed to a Norwegian EU membership, but for different reasons.  The Agrarian Party emphasizes the loss of national sovereignty and the de-population of the Norwegian periphery as two important factors why we should not join the EU.  The Socialist Left Party on the other hand has the perspective that the EU is an institution that is mainly promoting economic issues and libertarian ideas.  The far right party, the progress party (FrP), are a bit harder to analyze because they haven't made up their mind yet although I suspect that the majority is against Norway joining the EU on nationalist grounds.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How important is whaling as an issue? There's no way Norway could join the EU and continue whaling.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I am sure that this will be a major obstacle in future negotiation and it has to be resolved before we can dream of joining the EU. :)

To be honest I don't think it would be a major issue on joining the EU.  Norway is not hunting whales for commercial purposes only for scientific reasons and it was not a major issue in 1994 and I doubt it will be in the future.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the whaling season is undeniably commercial, though it's small-scale and only benefits local fishing communities. Are you perhaps thinking of Japan or Iceland?

Otherwise agreed, including with your analysis upthread.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the update, I was not fully aware of that.    

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whaling issue is more of a symbolic issue like the sovereignty issue and are more important for people living in the northern parts of Norway, still, I reckon that most Norwegians are in favour of hunting whale as long as it's deemed ecologically viable.  (Although I have no statistics at hand to support my claim).

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will ony quibble some less significant and one on-point part, so I state upfront: thank you for your long and informative reply.

In comparison to other European states Norway got its independence rather late, in 1905.

A number of new EU member states, most notably Slovakia and the Baltic countries, have even more recent independence.

Any insecurity or discourse over the sovereignty and administration of these resources, make Norwegians sceptical, because it could have a direct bearing on the welfare of the Norwegian people...
...Labour... The minority on the other hand emphasizes the economical aspects of the Union and more or less looks upon it as a club for the rich countries.

Well, I guess even Romania is rich relative to say Uganda, but not relative to Norway - Norway would be a netto payer in the EU, in effect the financier of lifting the welfare of us Central-Eastern Europeans. I hammer on about this because this is what circles in my mind lately, especially since Marxism was brought up - I am thinking of Social Democracy as an offspring of Marxism that limits redistribution to members of a nation, as opposed to redistribution on higher levels.

I quoted two different relevant parts of your post above because I perceive an apparent contradiction. Do you mean that losing money to the EU is not discussed in the eurosceptic wing of the Norwegian Labour party, but it is in the population?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The debate on all levels is much more about resource sovereignty (fish) and the right to subsidize small-scale agriculture than about increased direct transfers to the EU. Though Norway already pays about 3 times more than Denmark and no less than 50 times more than Finland just for access to the Common Market.

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:54:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or was it 500 times more than Finland (per capita of course)? Have to look that up tomorrow.

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am thinking of Social Democracy as an offspring of Marxism that limits redistribution to members of a nation, as opposed to redistribution on higher levels.

I might also point out that Norway is world leading on development aid with about 1 percent of GDP, and the other Scandinavian social democracies aren't far behind.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 07:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I can see your point with the two statements being contradictory, but in reality it is not.  In general the independence issue and the administration of national resources are of importance to most Norwegians also amongst the eurosceptics within the Norwegian Labour Party.  Still, their main point against Norwegian membership in the EU has been that the EU is a trade-organisation for rich European countries, although I suspect that this view has been somewhat modified since the referendum in 1994, with the incorporation of the Eastern-European countries.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 07:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, DoDo I meant Central Eastern European countries. :)

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 07:17:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am thinking of Social Democracy as an offspring of Marxism that limits redistribution to members of a nation, as opposed to redistribution on higher levels.

That seems like a strange point of view? Sounds like a story topic to me.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2006 at 04:07:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I may do that tomorrow, tough it may be delayed:

(1) I may want to do research,

(2) currently there is too much other discussion going on, and not the right time to be provocative to a wider audience. (I was already straddling the limit with our Norwegian friends here :-) but they shot me down finely.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2006 at 05:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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