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Norwegian PM Slaps Down Brexit ‘Norway Option’ Inside Single Market

theresa may norway
Rune Hellestad/Getty
LIAM DEACON

The Norwegian Prime Minister has slapped down the “Norway option” for Brexit, with the UK staying inside the wider European Economic Area, which some anti-Brexit campaigners are demanding.

The plan would keep the UK locked in the European Union’s (EU) Single Market and Customs Union, and subject to many of its rules, including open borders and free movement of people.

Norway is inside the Single Market, but the nation’s premier, Erna Solberg, was sceptical such an arrangement could work for the UK after the Brexit vote.

“If you asked us if we would welcome Britain, we would welcome any good co-operation with Britain,” she said according to The Telegraph.

“But, I don’t think it’s easy to think that you should. I know the British discussion – to enter into an organisation you are preparing to leave at the same time is also a little bit difficult for the rest of us.”

The so-called “Norway for Now” option has been pushed by Tory MP Nick Boles, keeping the UK inside the Single Market and Customs Union for now, with the option of developing a different arrangement later.

Critics say it would not deliver on the referendum result and would mean the continuation of unlimited mass migration and block the UK from striking trade deals around the world.

On a visit to the Norwegian capital Oslo, Prime Minister Theresa May also announced that Norwegian citizens living in Britain will have the right to remain residents after Brexit.

“Prime Minister May and I agreed that Norway and UK will put in place a comprehensive citizens rights’ agreement,” said Ms Solberg, reciprocating the offer.

“We will treat all UK citizens living in Norway… so they will have the same opportunities as they had before also after March 2019,” she said.

Britain and Norway were “very close” to agreeing on a deal that would mirror any Brexit deal the UK agrees with the EU, she added.

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