According to the report, which is to be published later this year, Norway is failing to live up to its obligations as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). The Scandinavian country has failed to include as many as 427 EU acts in its legislation. In addition, Norway has “resisted EU efforts for ambitious liberalisation”, the draft document obtained by Euractiv.com reads.
“This problem is of great concern for the EU side and should be solved as a matter of urgency,” the report states.
Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy confirms that the EU is looking into the possibilities for sanctions within the EEA agreement’s frame.
Norway has the last seven years been ruled by a three-party government coalition, which includes the Center Party and the Socialist Left party, both of them strongly skeptical towards European integration. In 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture, headed by Center Party deputy leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, first boosted import tax on hydrangeas from the EU by 72 percent and soon followed up with a 277 percent tax on cheese and a meat tax of up to 429 percent.
Several European countries soon expressed irritation over the new Norwegian trade barriers.
Danish Member of the Euroean Parliament Bendt Bendtsen says to Euractiv that Norway is acting “selfishly” and that it only wants the “cream on the cake”. Bendtsen says EU should consider to hit the powerful and export-dependent Norwegian fishing industry, or even go further – to expel the country from the EEA.
Also Sweden is increasingly annoyed by the Norwegian trend. In a comment in newspaper Expressen, Swedish analyst and columnist Eric Erfors writes that “Sweden and the EU should stop dealing with these oil-doped and spoilt Norwegians”. He underlines that “the current Norwegian free-rider mentality is deeply offensive” and argues that Swedish Premier Reinfeldt should take a serious talk with his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg.
“Yes, of course, dear Norwegians, you can isolate yourselves from the surrounding world and lock yourselves up in some cabin in the Hardanger Fjord”, Erfors writes.
A step-by-step increase up to SEK 5,5 billion will be added to the annual defense budget following the Ukraine crisis. The cash will partly come by cutting spending on environment and nuclear safety cooperation with Russia.
The president warns against hostile action and terrorism in the Arctic and says regional oil installations must be protected. At the same time, he signs a law, empowering oil companies to establish their own armed forces.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.