Postal Directive majority sends Norwegian PM's policy packing / News / The Foreigner

Postal Directive majority sends Norwegian PM's policy packing. UPDATED: Labour (Ap) Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg has been left counting the cost of a second class stamp after a crushing defeat by his own means Norway could face potential EU sanctions. Politicians at the Party’s National Congress cast a resounding ‘historic’ majority vote, yesterday, against the EU’s Postal Directive. The directive would have opened for free competition on deliveries of letters under 50 grams. Unions and Postkom (the Norwegian Post and Communications Association) had feared it would lead to reduced weekly deliveries to fewer places, as well as higher prices.

jensstoltenberg, jonasgahrstoere, eupostaldirective, eeaveto, sveinroaldhansen



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Postal Directive majority sends Norwegian PM's policy packing

Published on Monday, 11th April, 2011 at 09:57 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 11th April 2011 at 23:36.

UPDATED: Labour (Ap) Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg has been left counting the cost of a second class stamp after a crushing defeat by his own means Norway could face potential EU sanctions.

PM Jens Stoltenberg
PM Jens Stoltenberg
Photo: The Labour Party/Flickr


Long road

Politicians at the Party’s National Congress cast a resounding ‘historic’ majority vote, yesterday, against the EU’s Postal Directive.

The directive would have opened for free competition on deliveries of letters under 50 grams. Unions and Postkom (the Norwegian Post and Communications Association) had feared it would lead to reduced weekly deliveries to fewer places, as well as higher prices.

Klassekampen reports senior Party politicians tried everything they could to remove opposition to the directive. However, yesterday’s 181 to 295 vote against means the first-ever Norwegian veto under the EEA agreement is now a fact. So was the PM’s and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s EEA headache.

“We are delighted. There has been massive propaganda claiming Norway has no veto right because it is never used, and it is unable to stand up for it. I think this illustrates the character of the EU agreement in Norway,” Hemming Olausen, head of organization ‘No to the EU’ (Nei til EU) tells The Foreigner.

Mr Støre now faces up to 12 months of negotiations between the EU and Scandinavian ‘spectators’ Norway to look for ways to adapt the directive to Norwegian legislation.  

However, Norway and the EEA agreement are now in unchartered waters. There could be consequences.

“There may be political measures or a response from the EU as it might say the veto contravenes a core part of the agreement, but we don’t know. We have never used it before,” says Mr Olausen.

A colony

Paal Frisvold, leader of the pro-European Movement in Norway (Europabevegelsen), says he was also delighted with yesterday’s outcome.

“It’s wonderful news. This will shed light on the unbearable existence of the nature of the EEA agreement, and Norway will finally get to see the political and economic implications of how it really works. It will turn Norway into a European colony.”

The veto contravenes the EU’s Article 102, “the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union”. It is designed to prevent any country holding a dominant position in a market from abusing it. The Norwegian Postal Service currently has the monopoly on distributing all post under 50 grams.

“The EEA Joint Committee will be having its next meeting on 20th May, and might inform Norway its decision is unacceptable regarding its participation in the internal market.”

Moreover, if no agreement is reached within the 12 months, the EU could decide Norway should be penalised for having breached several parts of the EEA agreement (editor’s note: see Annex 8, 11, and 14).

“Norway could have its ability to compete in Europe suspended, mobile roaming prices could rise, or it could lose the possibility to invest in Europe on equal terms with other countries,” says Mr Frisvold.

Delay

“I believe Foreign Minister Støre now has two options. He could write a letter to the EU informing it about the veto and request consultations or, more likely, he will practise Norway’s traditional ‘sit down and wait’ policy,” he continues.

Meanwhile, Svein Roald Hansen MP, Labour’s Vice-Chairman on the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs says yesterday’s vote now means “the government has to decide on its position.”

“Of course, the political situation is now clear. We have to enter negotiations with the EU.”



Published on Monday, 11th April, 2011 at 09:57 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 11th April 2011 at 23:36.

This post has the following tags: jensstoltenberg, jonasgahrstoere, eupostaldirective, eeaveto, sveinroaldhansen.





  
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