Friday, 17 June 2011
Scotland v Norway
Here in Scotland politicians often mention Norway, also an oil producing nation, as a successful small country and by all accounts it is.
Its economy also relies on forestry (which occupies 26% of the country) and fishing yet agriculture hardly features at all - 3% of the total area of the country in comparison with 75% in Scotland, making Scotland far more self-sufficient foodwise. Hunting is still as much of an necessity as a sport in Norway and their diet is high in venison and fish.
One of the differences between the two countries is the stable economy Norway enjoys with its oil fund creating financial security for many years to come. Wages are higher than Scotland but so is the cost of living.
Another difference is the attitude of Norway to the EU. Norwegians have no desire to belong to the EU and are perfectly comfortably with their current arrangement of being a member of the EEA (European Economic Area).
A very recent poll reports that Norwegian opposition to joining the EU has reached a new high with almost two-thirds of voters opposing the country's accession to the bloc. Only 25% of people were in favour with 8% being undecided.
Norwegians have twice voted against EU membership, in 1972 and 1994.
Perhaps it's time Scotland had a closer look as to why Norway continues to reject becoming an EU member. The issue is important to Scotland's future and the SNP's policy on Europe needs to be discussed openly.