(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
Last Friday, the liberal British EU parliamentarian Diana Wallis gave a lecture in Oslo on her views on Norway and the EEA agreement. The theme for the lecture in the premises of the EU Commission in Oslo was "half inside and half outside."
In No to the EU they say they are sorry for her, but in Norwegian diplomacy she has supporters .. For some Norwegian diplomats and bureaucrats, Diana Wallis is more experienced as a revival preacher that they cannot get enough of. During the lecture, several public servants said clearly YES, and NOT TRUE, after each sentence Wallis stated. And after the meeting, some admitted that it was a pleasure to listen to Diana Wallis because she put words to it no one in Norway dare say.
- Wallis does not say anything new, but she says it in the right way, said one of the participants on the way out and admitted that he had listened to Diana Wallis on a number of occasions.
The EU most important
Diana Wallis, who represents Yorkshire and the UK in the European Parliament, is a harsh critic of the EEA solution Norway has. She believes that Norwegians are affected by a democratic deficit, because we are not in the EU.
- The most important decisions are made in Brussels, and it is the EU countries that make the decisions. Due to the EEA agreement, you must follow these decisions without having the opportunity to influence them before, during or after the processing. You must implement these decisions in Norwegian law. For me as a parliamentarian, this is a serious democratic problem, says Wallis.
Diana Wallis has also written a book about the Norwegian, Icelandic and Swiss EU debate. In the book "Forgotten Enlargement" she tries to shed light on the situation for the EEA countries and their opportunities in the future.
- I believe that the EEA agreement is not dynamic but a static agreement that prevents a living and exciting development between the EU and, for example, Norway. The agreement limits cooperation, and Norway must take into account what the EU imposes on them. The EU is growing and evolving. We get new member countries, while relations with Norway are locked in an agreement that is static, says Diana Wallis.
This claim is a former Norwegian EU ambassador and chief negotiator during the EEA negotiations in the mid-nineties, Eivind Berg, totally disagrees with Diana Wallis. He also rejected her claim that the deal is static and difficult to live with.
Quality is paramount
Diana Wallis points out that the EEA agreement helps to regulate 18 per cent of Norwegian legislation, while 82 per cent is not covered by cooperation with the EU.
- I'm aware of that. But we have many laws we do not need. I myself have been involved in removing laws and regulations that no one showed we had. It is true that only 18 per cent of Norwegian law is covered by EU co-operation. To that I would say that it is not the quantity, but the quality that is decisive. I believe that the 18 percent is more important than many of the areas that are not covered by the collaboration, says Diana Wallis.
She believes that the EEA countries should take into account that while the EU has been enlarged to 25 member states and the accession of new member states is being prepared, countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are not included in the future EU picture.
- Countries in the Balkans are entering, Turkey has started negotiations and discussions with Ukraine and Russia are underway on our future cooperation. While this is happening, Norway is choosing an agreement that is not adaptable and it is a danger to democracy, says Diana Wallis.
- The most important thing about membership is the opportunity to influence. As an EEA country, you have to keep your mouth shut and do as it is said. EU countries can, as in a family, yell at each other without major consequences. The EEA countries cannot. If they say no to messages from Brussels, then they are breaking an agreement, and must take the consequences of that. If you want influence and the opportunity to speak out, then you must join the EU, Diana Wallis believes.