Friday, 11 March 2016

Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and New Zealand: how do they cope without being members of the European Union?

The Daily Telegraph business pages have published four stories about histories of four countries arguably comparable with the United Kingdom, to see how they survive outside the European Union.

Four countries, four different stories.  But each of them contained the seeds of their own economic survival without a dependency on an unelected foreign superstate to govern their elected governments.

New Zealand has woken up to such an extent that it abhors even the concept of agricultural subsidies.  New Zealand recognised that subsidies are an economic opiate.  So, for Britain, not even farm subsidies are a justifiable argument to stay in the European Union and subscribe to the Common Agricultural Policy.  New Zealand also learnt that one can trade without free-trade agreements, as Germany - Germany! - has done for years.

In Iceland, Project Fear thankfully backfired, because ultimately all it could do was talk about the doom caused by not surrendering to an unelected foreign superstate governing its elected governments.

Norway sees no commercial or economic imperative to surrender to undemocratic foreign control, but did react to bullying from one - one! - Danish MEP.  That said, Norway appears to have more power over its ability to trade with others than the UK does from within the EU.  The Telegraph writes, "If London were to follow Oslo and apply to rejoin EFTA, it would require Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein’s permission."  True.  And this would apply to other bodies at which the EU represents (badly) the conflicting interests of 28 member nations.

And Switzerland hides behind its own constitution.

So there is clearly good cause to believe that life will go on as normal - more-or-less, subject to some negotiation - post-Brexit.

And accordingly, Project Fear is further discredited.

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