The “Norway option” means continued free movement for EU citizens and must now be dropped

November 06, 2018

Now that there appears to be some progress in the Brussels negotiations, the so-called “Norway option” should be put aside.

That is the conclusion of a paper (The "Norway option" means continued free movement for EU citizens) issued by Migration Watch UK which finds that such an option which would involve continued membership of the EEA would keep our borders wide open to an unlimited flow of workers from the EU.

Claims that there could be an effective “emergency brake” are deeply misleading. In exceptional circumstances safeguards could be proposed to the EEA Joint Committee but they would be restricted in scope and would be reviewed every three months by the Committee with the aim of limiting them as far as possible.

Implementing any restrictions, even if the Joint Committee acquiesced, would risk retaliation; this is one of the reasons given by Norwegian officials to explain why they have never called for safeguards.

Some have claimed that the Belgians have succeeded in implementing EU law more effectively by expelling EU citizens who remain in Belgium beyond the three months allowed them by Treaty rights and are not working. However, in recent years only about 2,200 eviction notices were issued annually. There is no information as to how many actually left Belgium.

As for the UK, very few EU citizens are unemployed. Only about 11,000 EU citizens out of about 3.8 million have been unemployed for more than a year and many of these will have the right of residence here due to family membership. So the number who might be expelled on the basis of the Belgian model is likely to be insignificant - perhaps only a few thousand. There would also, of course, be practical difficulties in locating and removing them.

Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

The public should not allow themselves to be fooled. If we are to control our borders we cannot be members of the EEA. That is for sure.

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