25th November 2016
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
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
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
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
The Norway Option (pdf)