What do Norwegians think of the British?
The Norwegian modelA role model for Great Britain?
Anyone who has ever traveled through Norway has seen them: the countless fjords, mountains, gorges, valleys and rivers. They chop up the land into small units and have not always left much room for humans. Even if the farms are small and the vegetation period is short, Norway has a long agricultural tradition. However, their productivity could never keep up with the yields of other EU countries, says Trygve Slagsvold Vedum. He is chairman of the Center Party, which is supported by many farmers.
"Our goal in Norway is to use the whole country, from the Finnish border to the south. The resources should benefit the local people. That was certainly one of the reasons for the no in the EU vote in 1994, also because that did not fit in with the EU fisheries policy. The state gives farmers money, for example, so that cultivation in mountains, on fjords and on small areas is worthwhile. "
Agriculture and fishing - Norway is one of the largest fishing nations in the world - are therefore protected by the economic agreement. Foreign dairy products, for example, are subject to protective tariffs - consumers in the supermarket should prefer to reach for local cheese.
The Norwegian model is expensive
But the agreement costs. The Norwegians pay around 391 million euros a year, among other things, to participate in EU programs such as research and innovation. Another part of the money goes to cooperation between the police and the judiciary in the Schengen area. But the Norwegians can afford it - thanks to the oil, and this deal seems downright necessary for the economy: after all, Norway exports around 80 percent of its goods to EU countries, and when it comes to imports, more than half of all goods come from the EU. In addition to their financial contribution, the agreement also means that the Norwegians bow to EU law in many ways: the country adopts an average of five EU laws every day - without much say. The neighbors in the west, says Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, with a view to Great Britain, would never like that:
"I don't think the British want an agreement similar to ours on the European Economic Area. Our parliament and our government are losing influence, to the bureaucrats in Brussels."
And then there is immigration - one of the very hot topics in the Brexit vote - both with regard to EU foreigners and refugees. Participating in the internal market also means that workers can move freely. This means that EU citizens have access to the Norwegian labor market.
Norway has taken in more refugees than the UK
As a member of the Schengen area, Norway took in more refugees per capita than the British in 2015.
Sylo Taraku, one of Norway's most renowned immigration experts, came from the former Yugoslavia as a refugee himself at the age of 18. He believes Britain cannot single-handedly control immigration more effectively:
"You can't solve that on your own at the national level - also negotiate a refugee deal like with Turkey, for example. That is why we need better cooperation on border controls, and that is best done at EU level."
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