The war in the Ukraine is no reason to join the European Union
On the EDGE
With the war that Russia is waging in Ukraine, the debate about Norwegian membership in the European Union (EU) has resurfaced. Those who want Norway to join the EU are of the opinion we would stand stronger against authoritarian forces, such as what we see in Russia. But is it so easy to be for or against the EU?
If we are to believe the first-quarter economic report, 80% of our export revenues now come from a few raw materials and aluminum. Thus, we find ourselves in a special position in Europe, economically and commercially. And the EU would gladly welcome us and take part in our raw materials.
The war in Ukraine has put the EU in a bind. Russia accounts for about 60% of the natural gas and 40% of the oil that some EU countries import to meet their energy needs. Energy prices have skyrocketed, and the EU is striving to become independent of Russian oil and gas. Only then can we guarantee stable energy situation, whether we are a member of the EU or not.
That’s how it is with electricity as well. Almost all the electricity we produce comes from clean hydropower. In Germany, between 40% and 50% of their power comes from fossil fuels. The EU would therefore like to have as much electricity from Norway as possible on the road to a green transition. But we need the power ourselves, among other things, to produce the world’s purest aluminum.
The third raw material we make good money on is fish. Maintaining control over fishery resources was a major reason why we said no to the EU in 1972 and 1994. Within the aquaculture industry, this is just as important today.
And with the war in Ukraine, the issue of food security has come up. For the most part, we have small-scale agriculture in Norway, especially along the coast. We risk being wiped out by industrial agriculture in the EU, because we would not be able to protect ourselves with tariffs.
Since 1994, the EU has taken many steps toward the integration and transfer of authority from individual countries to the community of nations. This has put us in a situation where we have little influence on decisions that concern us. But how much real influence would we have as a member of the EU? We will have 13 to 14 representatives among the total 705 in the European Parliament. Yes, we can join forces with other Nordic countries in matters that are important to us, but how far can that take us? And in the EU Commission, we must agree to act in the EU’s interests and not in our own. Overall, this must be weighed against the right to self-determination that we have today.
As the situation stands, we have a good cooperation with the EU. We have joined the EU’s sanctions against Russia, whereas the EU itself has problems with its own countries, such as Hungary. And where was the EU as Putin led Russia in an authoritarian direction? They became more and more dependent on Russia’s gas and oil, closing their eyes, as Europe did when Hitler took power in Germany. So, while there may be compelling reasons to join the EU, the reasons against it speak stronger.
This article first appeared in the June 1, 2022, edition of Bergensavisen (ba.no) and was reprinted with permission.
This article originally appeared in the June 24, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.