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Debates
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Agreement between the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway on an EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 - Increase in Norwegian duties on agricultural products/recent negotiations on the fish trade protocol
MPphoto
 

  Jasenko Selimovic, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, allow me to start by congratulating Norwegians on their National Day: ‘Gratulerer med dagen, Norge’. But, when it comes to the topic ‘liberalisation of trade’ there is no reason for congratulations. The EEA Agreement was signed in 1994. Since then, talks on liberalisation of trade in agricultural products have been slow and with no genuine engagement by the Norwegian side.

On the contrary, during these talks, in 2013 Norway drastically increased import duties for EU products – 280% on cheese, 430% on sheep meat, and 350% on beef. So if you buy a hot dog – a lamb sausage – in Oslo, it will cost you about EUR 2, but if the lamb comes from the EU, it will cost you EUR 10, five times more. On top of that, there is a new import duty of 70% on hortensia flowers from the EU. Seventy! Do not even think of buying flowers for your girlfriend if she is Norwegian. Love has a very high price in Norway.

I have to say to my fellow Norwegians, that if you respect your commitments and decrease import duties, I can promise you that the world will not go under. The sun will still rise in the morning. The lakes will be fresh and clean – era fjorder underbara – and you will still be able to eat your brunost since we have do not have any intention of buying it, whatever the price might be. If you do not care about us as a partner, please care about your citizens, who already pay some of the highest food prices in the world. Do not make it even more expensive.

I would therefore sincerely like to encourage both the Commission and our Norwegian partners to show a more flexible, constructive and swift approach in order to settle this longstanding issue.

 
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