Scotland '˜could look to Norway model' to maintain EU ties

Scotland could seek an arrangement similar to Norway when the UK leaves the European Union, according to reports.

Night falls on Norway's capital Oslo. Picture: Contributed

BBC Scotland is suggesting that Scotland could attempt to join the European Economic Area (EEA) as the Scottish government seeks to maintain links with the EU in the aftermath of a Brexit.

The much-vaunted ‘Norway Model’ has been put forward as a potential solution, with the plan allowing citizens of the EU to work in Scotland.

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But Scotland would have to rely on agreement between the UK, EU and EEA if the plan was to go ahead.

Houses on the hill in the south western coastal city of Bergen. Picture: Contributed

The Scottish government is set to publish plans focusing on protection of Scotland’s place in Europe by the end of the year.

The EEA is made up of all EU members states along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

EEA membership means Norway has full access to the single market, on the condition that the Nordic nation makes a financial contribution to the EU’s budget and accepts most EU laws.

Houses on the hill in the south western coastal city of Bergen. Picture: Contributed

Norwegian nationals enjoy free movement throughout the EU - with EU citizens allowed to live and work in Norway - but the country is outwith the customs union and so can set tariffs for other nations.

While Norway is exempt from EU laws on fishing, agriculture, home affairs and justice, the country has no say in the rules of the single market.

Those in Scotland backing an EEA membership bid claim it will allow people from both EU and EEA member states to work in Scotland regardless of constraints they might face elsewhere in the UK.

But Westminster could be wary of giving the green light to such a move over fears it could lead to so-called ‘back door access’ to the UK through Scotland.

Politics and culture in Scandinavia - and particularly Norway - featured during the Scottish independence campaign, with current SNP deputy leader Angus Roberson floating the idea that a newly-independent Scotland could apply to join the Nordic Council while Scotsman columnist Lesley Riddoch established the Nordic Horizons think tank to promote closer ties between the Scottish government and its Scandinavian counterparts.