Progress for Norwegian EU-opponents
Norwegians Firm Up Independence
The Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, FRP) in Norway is a party of the sensible Right. And they are becoming more firm in their opposition to Norway ever joining the EU.
Twenty years ago you would have heard this party dismissed as some kind of extreme party. "Those guys who drive trucks, they all vote Progress", one Norwegian Lefty once told me. It was founded in opposition to the kleptocratic taxation regime so typical of Scandinavia. The "offical" eurosceptics in Scandinavia would probably have described them with all kinds of rude words - as they did the Danish Peoples Party. Did in the past before both parties, similarly combinations of Libertarian nationalism, have advanced to dominant positions in their respective countries.
Progress Party, founded by people with charisma, was inevitably treated as a minority party in Norway but has risen to be the second largest party, now about third largest, but in government coalition.
The party position has been moving from almost neutrality on the EU-issue - just that it should be down to a referendum - which may be seen as code for opposition - to one of opposing membership.
On Saturday (5 March 2017) Siv Jensen, who supported membership in 1994, said in a speech that today she would vote NO. This is only to support the status quo and it is not a programme to unpick the pre-in EEA agreement but it is movement in the right direction and a recognition of the views of the membership. EEA exerts such control over the minutia of Norwegian government that many people feel that Norway is free of the EU in name only. Party Leader, Siv Jensen, speaks especially against EU burocracy and control. Party congress is coming up in May so we will see how things come out.
It is good news for British "Brexiteers" and anti-EU campaigners and eurosceptics in central European countries. There is a massive organisation in Norway "Nei til EU" but while it is the "official" anti-EU organisation with many staff, the people in charge are quite frank in saying it is a Socialist organisation and only interested in working internationally with Leftist groups. They do not understand that it is not 1917 anymore, not even in Norway. One only has to visit Oslo to see how it is modernising (but not only in good ways!). British and patriotic and Conservative groups in Europe have found this inability to make working relationships frustrating and will be greatly encouraged to see euroscepticism advancing in the more modern sections of Norwegian politics.
Centre Party, which is a sort of soft-left farmers' party has traditionally been very anti-EU. Apart from this being an example of the kind of normal, libertarian, patriotic politics which is leading the new opposition to the EU east of the Oder, it is also a breaking in the cartel of governing parties who now need to compete for the anti-EU vote and who understand that vote is the future.