As any fule know Norway is not an EU Member State. It does, however, recognise the crucial importance of is relationship with the EU in the interconnected areas of trade and defence, as this article in IHS Janes points out. So much so that Oslo has announced that it is going to voluntarily implement the Defence Directive into Norwegian law within “the next few months”.
This is an interesting story in itself, but it is extremely instructive against the background of calls from Eurosceptics in the UK to begin a process of withdrawal and disconnection from the EU.
The arguments around excess regulation and the unnecessary burden of cost imposed on the UK as a major net contributor have some merit and, frankly, are never likely to be laid to rest.
However, one fact which is immutable is geography. Like it or not, the UK is never going to move away from the North Western shoulder of continental Europe and the EU is always going to be both a major trading partner and a crucial security ally.
Norway’s response to the Defence Directive is indicative of the strength of trading and security imperatives in forming political and economic policy and, in our view, is a better guide to the likely direction of the UK’s long term strategy than the shrill voices of the Europhobes.
We may see some elements of EU regulation diminished in impact but don’t expect to see an exit from the regime for procurement regulation any time soon.