With the consequences of the Brexit vote playing out, many who supported Britain's departure from the European Union are now endorsing a policy known as the Norwegian Model. The idea is to negotiate a position similar to that of Norway, in which the country is technically outside the EU but still reaps many of the same economic benefits.
In today's Seeker Daily dispatch, Jules Suzdaltsev looks at how that policy is working out for the Scandinavian country, and the power of Norway in general.
Norway's economy certainly benefits from the county's unique arrangement with the EU. Although Norway is not an official member, it has full access to the bloc's internal market and can trade most goods with member states duty free. In addition, Norway has the freedom to negotiate free trade agreements with countries outside the organization.
That might seem like a sweet deal -- and it is -- but staying outside the EU has its drawbacks, as well. Norway has little say in EU policies regarding regional security, which is problematic when negotiating with Russia over issues regarding their shared border. Militarily, Norway is rather weak on its own. Only about 70,000 active duty personnel are in rotation at any given time and the country's $7 billion defense budget is relatively tiny.
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Economically, Norway is good shape. The country has the third highest per capita GDP in Europe, and the fourth highest in the world. Norway is the largest per capita producer of oil outside of the Middle East, with exports accounting for roughly a quarter of the country's $400 billion GDP.
That per capita designation is key: One of the reasons Norway is so well off is that its population density is the lowest in all of continental Europe. There just aren't that many people in Norway, so everyone gets a bigger piece of the pie. That's changing fast, though: Like other Scandinavian countries, Norway is struggling to control an influx of migrants while still maintaining its generous social safety structure.
One last note: Norway is also home to Svalbard Seed Vault, a kind of giant underground Plan B for all of humanity. DNews' Trace Dominguez recently took a tour, actually. You can check that out here.
-- Glenn McDonald
Open Europe: What would a 'Norway-style' relationship with the EU entail?
The Guardian: The Norway option: what is it and what does it mean for Britain?
NPR: Norway Offers Glimpse Into Possible Model For Post-Brexit United Kingdom
CIA World Factbook: Norway