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We are the 48%

, by Anne-Helene Bakke

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The 24th June will go down in history as the first time European integration reversed. Integration has slowed down and even came to a halt, but it has never been reversed. “Brexit is Brexit,” has said Theresa May said of the referendum results, but the question everyone is asking themselves is: “is it really fair that a meagre win of the 52 % should dictate the future of the 48 % after a campaign that was solely based on lies from the Leave-campaign?”

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When the EU is to meet with May’s new team of leave-negotiators it should act accordingly. Yes, it’s bitter. Yes, we’re angry and sad – but so are the 16 million people in the UK that actually voted to remain; so are the youth in Britain, and those who weren’t eligible to vote. But it’s important to note that tyranny of the majority is something we oppose in modern Europe.

In the words of Sir Winston Churchill “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” – the man who called for a united states of Europe, will turn in his grave if the Britain he once knew, of conservative modernity, were to leave the European project. Democracy does not ensure we will do what is right, or that the majority vote can’t be questioned. Soon after, people googled “what is the EU” and many who voted leave regretted their choice, 4 million people signed the petition, calling for a second referendum.

And who are we, to banish the seventh member of the European community? Of course, the referendum results must be respected and acknowledged. The UK is leaving the EU, but as Knut Frydenlund, a former Norwegian foreign minister said: “Norway’s no to the EU, was not a no to Europe” – in the same way, Britain’s place will hopefully still be at the heart of Europe.

It’s difficult to say exactly what and how much the UK should receive of special benefits from the EU when negotiation their models. Norway’s model is not an option because of the aspect of free movement nor is the Swiss model preferred. The UK, an important player on the international and European scene is risking being frozen out of both the EU and Europe – in stark contradiction to what almost half of their people want.

No, the EU cannot offer the UK “cherry-picking” in the negotiations. They can’t refuse to follow the four freedoms and still take full part of the single market, nor can the EU shut its door completely on the island just outside the French coast.

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P.S.

From 5-9th September JEF Norway arranged its EU-academy, a top training programme for 8 high-qualified members. The five-day academy held in the heart of Europe, Brussels, consisted of training in speeches, article writing, project-planning and simulation. The members went through many tasks and challenges throughout the whole day. The tasks where given by different Norwegian companies based in Brussels where they work on lobbying for their policies. The academy let them also experience how policies go through at the EU institutions. The purpose of the academy was to train the members so that they are prepared for the EU-membership fight in Norway. But also learn more about how Norwegian companies preserve Norwegian interests in the EU without being a member. Out of all challenges that week, one was to write an article on Brexit and how the EU should deal with the Brexit in negotiations. Congratulations to Anne Helene for an interesting article with a lot of JEF spirit!