The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Max Manus OR As the Norwegians Like It

During my Bachelors Degree at Kingston University, I studied History. While studying History I focused on the time period 1870-1945. My research of World War 2 led me to true titans of heroism including the monumental figure that is Max Manus of the Oslogjengen (Oslo Gang). Max Manus was a resistance fighter in Oslo who stumbled into his saboteur role having previously fought against the Russians in Finland. It was not a deliberate choice as initially his gang merely spread anti-German propaganda. However, as the war went on, Max Manus worked closely with the British to help overcome Nazi Germany.


Max Manus for me represents everything that the EU fails to get about Norway. Such a culture has evolved over a long time since the Vikings, but that hearty spirit has never left the very veins that pump with irrepressible courage. This is not courage for courage's sake. It is crafted from the tough environment which they live daily, compared to soft-bellied politicians in Brussels. Temperatures in Oslo often drop below zero. It is an environment for the strong of spirit and certainly not for the weak of will. Perhaps that is why Norway has joined EFTA and not other EU bodies. In actual fact Norway has never joined the EU. Norway it should also be noted does not have the Euro, but retains its own currency the Norwegian Krone.


The Norwegian Krone and economy easily rode out the bank crises of the 2007-2008. Jerry Guo of Newsweek states that:


Norway was the only Western industrialized state to escape the global economic meltdown relatively unscathed. It boasts a healthy banking sector, record-low unemployment, and one of the hottest sovereign wealth funds around.i (my emphasis)


With such a successful economic market base, it could be argued that the EU underestimates states like Norway who can avoid such financial challenges with considerable ease. Operating beyond the parameters of the Euro, Norway unlike countries linked to the European Central Bank (ECB), avoided much pain during the global recession. Perhaps this has signalled to members of the Visegard Group (V4) a sound reason not to pursue the Euro too closely. Notably with the exception of Slovakia.


With a population of 5.2 million Norway has taken a different route to success from many of its European Union neighbours. Life expectancy in Norway for 2018 is 82.1 years of age. This compares with 80.31 years of age in Cyprus for 2017. Norway is known for inventing the cheese slicer and the aerosol can. It is also a member of the Schengen area by association. Returning to Max Manus though, Norway was a founding member of NATO. It therefore has plenty of allies should it require them for any military or economic purpose. The history of Norway is naturally linked to climate and terrain, neither of which require the EU for survival.


Norway does not need to dream of a saviour or hero beyond its own borders, historically those like Max Manus already provided them. How will the EU entice Norway to become a full member? Will it even attempt to do so, before it pursues countries like Ukraine? If not, why not? The complexities of such a decision on an official basis raises eyebrows as it sidelines Norway if such an intent is either lacking or not forthcoming. The Norwegians though are quite clear – they do not wish to be members of the EU.



ihttp://www.newsweek.com/stoltenberg-how-norway-escaped-economic-meltdown-70511

Sweden – More than just Vikings and an Eu State
Heseltine: A Bridge Too Far
 

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Monday, 21 May 2018

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