The UK faces a struggle to impose its economic will if it leaves the EU, according to Norway’s minister for Europe, Vidar Helgesen.
Norway is often held up as a shining example of how a country can thrive outside of the European Union, but life beyond the bloc is not plain sailing.
Talking to the Observer, Helgesen, who will meet with Foreign office ministers this week, said that Norway often struggled to shape economic policies that affected it, due to its non-membership in the EU. The isolation was not just economic, but defence-based, too. Helgesen said that during a “burning security crisis not seen since the cold war” that many meetings occurred at EU rather than Nato level, a fact that could prove disadvantageous if the crisis in Ukraine spreads or continues into the next parliament.
We [Norway] are fully integrated into the EU single market as members of the EEA [European Economic Area], but what we don’t have is the right to vote on those regulations that are incorporated into our law when they are made by the council of ministers.
Helgesen said. The minister added that much time was wasted by ministers trying to find out what had happened at EU meetings that affected Norway.
Norway is a favourite example for Eurosceptics, as it benefits from the single market through being a part of the EEA without being a member of the EU.
An Opinium poll conducted for the Observer showed that amongst the sample, 51 per cent would vote to leave the EU.