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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
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