The tone has been reversed since the Hurdal platform’s promise that the government will “as soon as possible” request an exemption from the rail package. Now Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård does not see “no more need to go to the EU”.
– It was good that the Labor Party was willing to use the right of veto to guarantee national control of the railway. I notice that the Labor Party and the Minister are a bit warmer now. I’m disappointed, says Mona Fagerås, SV’s transport policy spokesperson.
On the Hurdals platform, the government announced a fierce battle with the EU. For the first time since the EEA agreement was adopted in 1994, Norway was required to apply for a waiver of an agreement that is incorporated into Norwegian law and binding under international law.
The Støre government promised:
“Initiate a dialogue with the EU as soon as possible with the aim of guaranteeing Norway an exemption from some of the provisions of the fourth EU rail package.”
The first opportunity was on Friday, October 29. The EFTA countries and the EU then met in the EEA Committee. On the Norwegian side, the meeting was chaired by the EU Ambassador, Rolf Einar Fife.
Did Norway ask for an exception? No. Norway was content to provide the EU with a copy of the Hurdals platform.
«At the EEA Committee meeting, the representative of Norway drew the EU’s attention to the point about the fourth EU rail package on the Hurdal platform. The EU representative took note of this and wanted to convey it to the Commission. “
Writes Secretary of State E vivos Vad Petersson at the Foreign Office in an email.
Will map the action space
Transport and Communications Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård (Labor Party) writes in an email that it is not entirely certain that the government will monitor the Hurdal platform and ask the EU for an exemption from the rail package.
“For me, a natural first step along the way is to map the room for maneuver and exceptional possibilities within the regulations, and assess whether they are applicable to Norwegian conditions,” Nygård writes.
According to Nygård, the outcome of this work “will form the basis for future dialogue with the EU and our EEA / EFTA partners”.
And then comes the political clarification:
“If it turns out that we can implement our policy by making full use of exceptions and leeway in regulations, I don’t see a need to go to the EU and our EEA / EFTA partners to ensure plus exception.”
The Minister gives no explanation as to what he means by «plus exception. “Norway has no exceptions today.
– I am concerned that the Minister of Transport is now backtracking on whether this should be implemented. Rødt will not accept the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party on express quick election promises and platform points about opposing EU control over the railway, says Rødt leader Bjørnar Moxnes.
The minister says that “this is completely in line with the Hurdals platform” and that our EEA partners are now “aware of our political objectives”.
If it turns out that there is no room for maneuver, the minister warns that Norway must “go one step further and raise this with our EEA partners.”
In that case, it will be a long process, perhaps years, that “will require extensive evaluation and preparation and, ultimately, unanimity.”
Red: Do we own our own home?
Bjørnar Moxnes believes that “the much-discussed room for maneuver in the EEA agreement” must be put to the test.
– Do we still own our own house, or is the room for maneuver the size of a bucket ?, asks Moxnes to continue:
– It will provide useful clarification to examine how much control the Norwegian government has over key areas of society, such as railways, but also over power and working life, and where the EU will set foot. So far, we let the doubt benefit the government at work here, he says.