On BBC Radio 4’s “”Any Questions” last night (22nd April 2016), Nigel Farage claimed that Norway makes no contributions to the EU (though he acknowledged it voluntarily makes some donations to poorer EU member states) and that it incorporates only a small number of EU regulations into its law.
He said all this with such authority and force that for a moment I was worried I’d misunderstood the situation.
But no. He was lying.
According to official Norwegian government report “Outside and Inside” (2012 — Google for PDF):
“All 17 ministries work with EU/EEA matters, and so do most of the subordinate agencies and all 429 municipalities, much of whose work deals with EEA-related matters. EU law has been incorporated to some extent into around 170 of a total of 600 Norwegian statutes and approximately 1 000 Norwegian regulations.
Norway’s association with the EU has implications at all levels, from matters affecting daily life (vehicle inspections, the working environment, food quality) to major structural issues (the common labour market and the financial market), as well as the balance of power between the Storting(parliament), the Government and the courts, politicians and civil servants, the capital and the regions, employers and employees, etc.”
Meanwhile, the Norwegian government’s Mission to the EU reports:
“Norway’s financial contributions include funding to reduce disparities in Europe and contributions to the budget of EU programmes and agencies we participate in.”
Per capita, Norway pays under its EU agreements roughly what the UK does.
Nobody on the “Any Questions” team seriously challenged Farage. They were shocked, and maybe, like me, doubted their own understandings. Perhaps they assumed he was playing by their own rules and not lying. Some hope.
Not only do leaders of the Leave campaign refuse to give any clue as to what a post-Brexit Britain would look like. They make up their own “facts” about the current reality.
Thanks to Graham Watt a member of one of the SY2E – Remain in the EU groups.