Scottish Voice In EU-Norway Delegation

21 February 2012

Scottish MEP Alyn Smith is this week representing Scotland and the EU at the 28th EU - Norway Interparliamentary Meeting (IPM) in Oslo as an official member of the European Parliament delegation.

Norway is not a member of the EU but as part of the European Economic Area (EEA) it is subject to many EU rules despite having no input in how they are made. The interparliamentary meetings, which take place annually, aim to counter this democratic deficit by fully discussing the state of relations between the EU and Norway. This week's meeting is specifically focused on the responses to the attacks in Oslo and Utøya in July last year; continuing cooperation between the EU and Norway in several policy fields, such as freedom of movement of persons, Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the European Economic Area.
 
Alyn is a substitute member of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway and the European Economic Area and has been active on this delegation since his election to the European Parliament in 2004. European Parliament delegations maintain and develop the Parliament’s international contacts.

Speaking from Oslo, Alyn said:

"We live in an interconnected world where most issues cross borders one way or another. The whole point to independence is to move on from here, where someone else decides what powers we have, to a place where we decide what powers we share, who with and how we share them. That process is already underway and is certainly causing a stir in Norway, judging from the friendly questioning I have received here.

"Clearly Norway is in a very different position to Scotland with regards to the EU and it is interesting to see how they deal with the unique nature of their situation. A recent review conducted by a committee of the Norwegian Parliament concluded that Norway has incorporated approximately three-quarters of all EU legislative acts into Norwegian legislation. At the same time, Norway is neither a member of the EU nor involved in the decision-making processes to any significant extent. Meetings like this IPM are useful in keeping track of just how the relationship is working for both parties involved.

"These talks, and representing Scotland internationally, are not just about being nice - they are the best way to bring home ideas and build links for the betterment of our country."