Icelandic legal expert says Scotland should join Nordics instead of EU

Nathanael Williams

As the UK looks to confirm Brexit and Scotland signals its desire to stay in the EU, there may be a third option

ICELANDIC legal expert Katrin Oddsdóttir has suggested that Scotland might be better off joining the league of small, independent, north Atlantic nations along with her home country and Norway.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organisation set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its four member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.

The association manages the EFTA Convention; EFTA’s worldwide network of free trade and partnership agreements, and the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement for mostly European nations not within the EU trading block.

She also suggested that there is the option of political cooperation with the nations in the Nordic Council; an inter-parliamentary body for cooperation between the Nordic states.

Speaking at Ireland’s Galway Arts Festival over the weekend, Oddsdóttir said: "I think an independent Scotland should look further north towards Reykjavik and Oslo rather than Brussels."

"I still think the people of Scotland could do quite well as independent nation outside of the EU." Katrin Oddsdóttir

In 2011, Oddsdóttir was elected nationally to be one of 25 experts and ordinary citizens given the task of collaborating to create a new constitution. The Icelandic parliament will decide whether or not to endorse the constitution after the country’s General Election this autumn.

The proposed constitution was drafted with checks and balances to ensure Iceland would not repeat the mistakes that allowed its banking sector to engage in its pre-2008 crash speculation. It additionally states that any move to dilute national sovereignty, such as by joining the EU, must be put to a referendum.

On an independent Scotland, she said: "I still think the people of Scotland could do quite well as independent nation outside of the EU. 

"Firstly, because the EU is in a cul de sac in a way as it facilitates global capitalism which is destroying everything. 

"Scotland could be very progressive and say we will follow the path of Iceland and Norway, which are countries that trade with the EU but are not part of the Brussels camp."

The Nordic Council does not have any formal power on its own, but each government has to implement any decisions through its country's legislative assembly or parliament. 

Also, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are full members of Nato while Finland and Sweden are neutral. As a result, it was decided that the Nordic Council would not be involved in any military cooperation, unlike the EU.

"I think an independent Scotland should look further north towards Reykjavik and Oslo rather than Brussels.” Katrin Oddsdóttir

Oddsdóttir added that Scotland could have a prosperous future outside both the EU and the UK, as an independent country drawing inspiration from the likes of Norway and Iceland.

She said: “There is a great beauty and a great strength in being a small nation that is truly independent. Which means making your own decisions more freely.”

Within the context of objections to Scottish accession to the EU made by the governments of Spain and France, this could become a point of return if the Scottish Government finds the road to Brussels is blocked.

But it is not clear whether it would be popular among those who, as a result of Brexit, have placed Scottish independence in line with EU membership as politically inseparable.

Picture courtesy of Miguelb

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