DUBLIN (Reuters) - Non-EU Norway called on Brussels and London on Wednesday to ensure that Brexit does not disrupt its trade relations once Britain leaves the European Union.
Norway has chosen to remain out of the EU but pays hundreds of millions of euros to access the single market as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and is also in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) along with Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
“To preserve the integrity of the single market, the EU-27, the UK and EFTA should agree on legal arrangements to enter into at the same time that the EU-UK agreement is reached,” Marit Berger Roesland, Norway’s European affairs minister, said in a speech in Dublin.
Norway is concerned, among other things, about the fate of Norwegians living in Britain after Brexit; fisheries policy; what kind of terms would be given to Britain after Brexit and whether Britain would get preferential treatment over Norway.
Roesland told Reuters that while Oslo is not at the negotiating table, there was a good understanding of its position in London, and that it was now up to finding a technical solution.
“If the EU and UK agree on withdrawal terms relevant to the single market, such as the rights of citizens, we need to find ways to extend these to the members of the EEA,” said Roesland, who was appointed to the role last month.
“Likewise any transitional agreements that extend the application of the single market should also include the EEA states. Otherwise we risk having a fragmented solution and that would be a great problem for Norway.”
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy