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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Scotland in Europe
The Norway Option


25th November 2016

Alastair,

You will find a more comprehensive analysis in The Norway Option, one of the better publications by the Bruges Group on the Leave side, authored by a colleague of mine, Dr. Richard North, who is a specialist on this subject.

It is one of the clearest statements of the presently exploding transfer of political and economic decision making to global institutions, over the head of the EU, and its “common policies” rule that would put handcuffs on Scotland as an EU member.

At the top of page 30 you will see his estimate, which is shared by others, that more than 80% of all that the EU does is simply handed down from institutions higher up the global order and handed on to the EU members as EU law.

States like Norway and Iceland, Scotland’s nearest non-EU neighbours, are filthy rich in EFTA/EEA, and three-quarters of their voters are virulently opposed to EU membership. They can afford to ignore any disadvantages.

They also regularly head the list of the world’s richest countries per capita, as well as the world’s most contented and happiest peoples - and they have nothing like Scotland’s material resources as a basis.

Now, I know from personal contacts with EFTA member state politicians and civil servants that the EFTA members do not want the UK back in EFTA, because of its sheer size that would upset the balance for the others.

Scotland, on the other hand, a country of the same size as Norway and Switzerland, would be welcomed with open arms and would strengthen EFTA’s standing internationally, economically and politically.

Professor Peter Ørebech, the Norwegian government’s guru for international law and European affairs in Tromsø University, told me that he was devastated by the result of the 2014 referendum in Scotland, because he had been all prepared to smooth Scotland's way into the Nordic Council, the Arctic Council (whose HQ is just down the road from his office in Tromsø), and of course EFTA/EEA. Quite a lot of people are just waiting for Scotland

I can think of another list of diplomatic and academic friends I meet once a week at the Vienna Foreign Policy Association and elsewhere, like the Association of Friends of the Nordic Lands, who are just waiting to assist and/or welcome Scotland.

All life is a compromise, and EFTA/EEA is no exception, but who knows how the picture will have changed before a concrete decision has to be reached?

Saor Alba,

Jim

The Norway Option (pdf)


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