The EU Parliament asks Norway to cut its tax increase on imported meat and cheese. The Minister of Agriculture, however, says he will continue to protect Norwegian farmers.
"We make the decisions, not Brussels," says Minister of Agriculture Trygve Slagsvold Veum. Although the EU has prepared a statement where the parliament criticizes Norway's tax on imported cheese, the minister stands his ground.
NRK reports that they have gained access to the documents where the EU accuses Norway of acting "inappropriate" when the government suggested increasing the tax on imported firm cheeses to limit competition with Norwegian producers.
"The Norwegian tax on certain types of cheese and meat products is close to protectionism. It is not what the Union expected from friends and neighbors," the regional commissioner of the EU, Johannes Hahn, said when he discussed the case in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
EU politicians also point out that the increase in taxes will harm both trade and consumers, and they question the economical logic in the new regulation.
Slagsvold Veum, however, is confident that Norway is following their agreements with the EU and their trade partners. "We are entitled to run a national agriculture policy that enables us to sustain food production in the entire country," he says.