Can Britain join Norway in the EEA?

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Series Details June 2016
Publication Date 16/06/2016
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Pro-European MPs signalled that they might try to force the UK to accept membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) – the ‘Norway option’ – if Britain voted to leave the EU. Charles Grant and John Springford debate whether this was likely.

After the EU referendum vote on the 23 June 2016 a number of Norwegian voices expressed concerns concerning the possibility of the UK attempting to maintain membership of the EEA by rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

For example, Norwegian European Affairs Minister Elisabeth Vik Aspaker told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on the 9 August 2016 'It's not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country into this organisation ... It would shift the balance, which is not necessarily in Norway's interests'.

The Norwegian government set up an inter-ministerial working group to assess the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Rock-paper-scissors in the EU referendum
ESO: Background information: The UK and the EU: Are there Alternatives to EU Membership?
ESO: Background information: Norwegian model for the UK: oh really?
ESO: Background information: What Comes After the British EU Referendum?
EUObserver, 01.07.16: Brexit may alter Norway’s relationship with the EU
ESO: Background information: European Economic Area
The Independent, 28.06.16: Brexit: Iceland president says UK can join 'triangle' of non-EU countries
The Independent, 01.07.16: Norway model not right for Britain post-Brexit, says Norwegian minister
The, 28.06.16: Norway won't commit to UK joining EFTA
ECFR: Commentary, 21.06.16: Lessons from the Norway-EU relationship
The Guardian, 09.08.16: Norway may block UK return to European Free Trade Association
The, 09.08.16: Norway cool on idea of Britain returning to EFTA
ESO: Background information: European Free Trade Association
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
Blog: Open Europe, 10.08.16: Norway has little to lose from having the UK in EFTA
EUObserver, 10.08.16: Norway could complicate UK's internal market access

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