The European Union guarantees democracy in Europe. We need it for our civiliziation to survive, or do we? That is the official story, but if it’s democratic it should be easy to leave the union.
It turns out it’s not quite that simple, and this is not only a European issue. There are several organizations in the USA that have lobbied for a secession from the Unites States of America. One of them is The Alaskan Independence Party, but the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Scott Kohlhaas vs. State of Alaska that secession is illegal under the state constitution, which you are not allowed to change.
Britain interests Norwegians as it’s our neighbour only seperated by a little water, and because we have a lot of history together. Norwegian media has been very slanted when covering the British referendum, which will be held tomorow. There’s been a lot of interviews with people saying how devastating a Brexit would be to the whole continent. Sinn Féin, the political wing of the former terrorist organization IRA, wants to stay in the EU because they don’t want to be ruled by the British. The General Secretary of NATO recently warned Britain about the consequences Brexit would have on the security situation all over Europe. Giles Merritt, chairman in the think tank Friends of Europe says there will be complete chaos if Britain leaves the union. He warns that other countries might follow and the union’s global recognition will suffer. According to a Wikipedia article Friends of Europe has no declared political or national bias, but with a name like that they are probably not in favour of breaking up the union. The articles in the Norwegian newspapers don’t question any of their sources, or ask them any questions that could be concidered critical.
There’s been several articles about politicians from other EU-countries warning Britain. One of them was the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble who warned his British colleague George Osborne about tough negotiations. The finance ministers in G 20 have also warned about the shock a Brexit would be to the world economy. According to the union’s own website the 28 members of EU account for 16 percent of the worlds import and export, but they are probably strong enough on their own.
The latest article I read was about a strong opposition to the EU among Norwegian farmers, while their British colleagues want to to stay in the union. It is true that many British farmers want to stay because they get subsidies from EU. It’s not that simple, however, as this article in Bloomberg points out. There are many farmers that acknowledge the insecurity of staying outside, but quite a few of them are willing to leave the union because it gives them more freedom and local control.
It’s true that leaving the union is problematic. No one can just decide to leave. They have to negotiate with EU, and they need to replace many laws. One of the things that caused the most opposition to EU when we had our referendum in 1992 was the fact that EU-law replace national laws when you become a member. That may not seem like a problem among major members like Germany and France, but it is problematic to us when decisions are made in Brussels and not Oslo.
There is enormous potential for profit in Norway, but Norwegian politicians have wisely enforced strict regulations on fishing and the oil industry, especially north of the Arctic Circle. I wonder how concerned people in Brussels would be if the ocean animals disappeared far north.
The biggest issue is freedom. I’m not sure I want decisions concerning me to be made in another country, decisions that the politicians I voted for can’t even criticize. How is that democracy? We would in fact have a never ending hostage situation. The Britons will be forced to go through some tough negotiations, if they vote for a secession, as well as a tough transition, but they will no longer be under siege. They will in fact win more than they lose, but if there was a financial price to pay, freedom is worth quite a bit, isn’t it?
I am prepared to support EU myself if they can ever get their act together, but they have to prove that the people living on the outskirts matter to them. The refugee crisis showed very clearly that countries like Italy and Greece were on their own until the problem came to Germany, Austria and other Central European countries. There is a word that accurately describes this type of system, corrupt.