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CENTRE

Norway’s Centre Party: ‘The British have a better deal than the EEA’

Norway's Centre Party has called the UK's trade deal with the European Union "a better agreement" than the one Norway has as a member of the European Economic Area.

Norway's Centre Party: 'The British have a better deal than the EEA'
Marit Arnstad (above) argues that the UK deal is superior to EEA membership. Photo: Centre Party/Flickr
Marit Arnstad, parliamentary leader of the Centre Party, said in an interview with the Klassekampen newspaper on Tuesday that the UK had shown Norway could get a better deal than what it currently has as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). 
 
“The UK has got a deal with gives them more freedom and more independence,” she said. 
 
“From my point of view, the British have a better agreement than the EEA. They gain access to the internal market and common trade, which is desirable, but they do not have to be part of the dynamic regulatory development that places strong limits on individual countries' national policies.”  
 
The former agrarian party last month overtook the Norwegian Labour and Conservative parties, the traditional leading parties of left and right, in polling ahead of next September's general election, sending a political shockwave through the country. 
 
 
Ms Arnstad said that after seeing the UK's success, her party would renew its calls for a public inquiry into possible changes to EEA membership.  
 
“I think it highlights the need to study alternatives to the EEA,” she said. “The most difficult thing for Norway is that we are constrained in areas of national politics, and that is happening in more and more areas. The British have now taken back these powers, and that is extremely interesting.” 
 
The Centre Party's call for an inquiry is backed by the Socialist Left Party, with Heming Olaussen, head of the party's EEA committee, telling Klassekampen that the UK's deal was superior.  
 
“The British have been released from the European Court of Justice. They are no longer subject to EU supremacy and must not accept any EU legislation in the future as we have to,” he said. 
 
“This agreement… safeguards national sovereignty in a better way than the EEA does for us.” 
 
Even after the Centre Party's recent surge in the polls, however, eurosceptic parties in Norway still lack a parliamentary majority. 
 
Both Labour and the Conservatives are historically pro-EU, and Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg argued earlier this month that the UK's Brexit struggles should serve as a warning to Norwegian eurosceptics. 
 
“Political parties in Norway that think it is a good idea to leave the EEA because we can negotiate new, better agreements should look more closely across the North Sea,” she said. 

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BREXIT

‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.

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