No right of withdrawal for EU rules Norway has approved-NRK Norway-Overview of news from different parts of the country
– The first thing we will do is stop the transfer of power by rail, which was passed in the Storting this spring, and the second thing we will do is take control of Norwegian energy policy.
This is how the Center Party’s leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum opened the only televised duel between him and Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre in the election campaign.
Vedum specifically aimed at the EU’s fourth railway package and the energy agency Acer. Most recently in March this year, Sp proposal in the Storting about being the government “start the product by pulling Norway out of the EU Energy Agency (Acer)”.
But several legal experts believe Vedum can look far after scrapping EU directives Norway has already joined.
The EEA agreement and the relationship with the EU are among the cases where the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party are facing others during the government negotiations in Hurdal this week.
– No right of withdrawal
There is no realism I can get done about this, since both rules have now been approved in Norway, the experts believe.
-There is no right of withdrawal in the EEA agreement and the table catches, says law professor and EEA expert Halvard Haukeland Fredriksen at the University of Bergen to NRK.
Both Acer and the fourth railway package are incorporated into the EEA agreement and thus legally binding on Norway. In order to withdraw anything from the agreement at all, Norway must first join the other EFTA countries, Liechtenstein and Iceland, the entire EU.
-Then one must unanimously be the only one in the EEA committee that Acer and the railway package will go out. Why the EU should be interested in this is difficult to imagine, says Haukeland Fredriksen.
Thus, the EU in reality has a veto right over a possible wish from Norway to change or terminate parts of the agreement. According to the professor, it has never happened before that the EEA committee has allowed a country to change the agreement because it regrets it. He is supported by another heavyweight.
Professor Finn Arnesen at the Center for European Law laughs a little at the benefit of getting the EU to repeal directives that have already been incorporated into Norwegian legislation.
-The directives that have already been incorporated into the EEA Agreement, the EEA Committee may decide to withdraw from the Agreement. In that case, it requires unanimity.
– How realistic is this?
– It was probably almost a bit in the premises here. I do not think it is particularly realistic, but one should never say never.
NRK has been in contact with Trygve Slagsvold Vedum who does not want to comment on cases and shows that he is involved in negotiations.
Want EEA victory
While guarantees for the EEA agreement and wishes and extensive cooperation with the EU in the energy and climate area are welcome, Sp has a completely different approach.
The party wants to carry out alternatives and renegotiate the entire EEA agreement, with the aim of writing the current agreement.
– We will also formulate ourselves well on it. This is one of the topics we will take seriously, so Støre told NRK about the EEA agreement on Tuesday.
In the TV duel before the election, he said that no one will answer a phone call from a Norwegian government that will renegotiate the EEA agreement without terminating it first.
– If you want to leave the EEA, and I warn against that, you must do as the British and terminate the agreement, he said, before adding:
-The Labor Party will not govern and be responsible for it, if the EEA agreement is put into play.
So where a clear EEA victory should lie for Sp, is thus unclear.
One opportunity to stand out when future EU directives soon land on the table of the new, red-green government.
Here I can use the so-called handling room and ultimately the right of veto. Among other things, the Center Party will regain national control over power policy. The next battle is when the EU’s fourth energy market package, with in-depth cooperation, soon comes Norway’s way.
Cannot restrict power exports
Incorporation of new directives requires that the parties agree, Arnesen reminds.
– When it comes to bringing in new things, it means that unless you are someone, the new things do not come in.
Men he warns at the same time:
– We have never used the “veto right” so far. So we really have no history to draw on, as far as I know. I would probably assume that if you are very crooked and twisted in the EEA context, it can spread to other cooperation.
And when it comes to Vedum’s desire to take greater control of Norwegian power exports, Arnesen is crystal clear:
-Taking national domination in the sense that one does not want to export power or limit exports, it is not possible to do the internal framework of the EEA agreement. Power is a commodity, and it must be free to move.
Sp’s energy and environmental policy spokesman Ole André Myhrvold was just out and demanded that a new government must be taken to use that Norwegian industry and Norwegian consumers receive electricity shocks.
– Sp believes that we must immediately see how we can limit the export of electricity in current legislation, to him.
Knocked through railway package
As recently as 24 September, two weeks after Erna Solberg (H) lost the election, the EU’s fourth railway package was considered by the EEA Committee and thus made binding on Norway.
The somewhat piquant thing about the situation is that the decision is based on a parliamentary majority from ours that no longer exists after the government parties lost the election.
The red-green parties therefore believed that the government should postpone the entire treatment, something Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) rejected in a letter to the Storting reproduced by Aftenposten.
The decision in the Storting was made the narrowest possible majority this spring. Both the Labor Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the Center Party and the Red Party are opposed to the new rules. They believe Norway will have less control over the railway, because it allows for more privatization. The supporters, for their part, believe that there are advantages to common rules within Europe and that the quality of train routes will improve.
Regardless, the package has now been adopted and is valid as part of the EEA agreement.