Britain wanted to establish a group for working with Norway on getting a new free trade agreement in place after the Brexit but Norway said no.
According to the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv Minister of Trade, Liam Fox, reportedly stated at a meeting with Minister of Industry Monica Mæland, that the United Kingdom and Norway ought to establish a joint working group to prepare a new trade agreement when the British leave the EU.
But after being discussed by the management team at the Foreign Ministry, which has the coordinating responsibility for Brexit, the offer was reportedly rejected.
According to the newspaper the boss of the European Department, Niels Engelschiøn, said that this could put the EEA Agreement in play and that it would not be formally correct and appropriate to start working together in such a manner as long as the United Kingdom is a full member of the EU.
Mæland or MFA were not willing to comment on the specifics, but Undersecretary Elsbeth Tronstad points out that there is dialogue and contact between the UK and Norway.
Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, however, believes that it is strange if Norway says no to expressed wishes for a closer dialogue.
– It seems that Norway is afraid to provoke the EU instead of worrying about Norwegian interests, says Vedum, who believes the government needs to involve the parliament more closely in its brexit work.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today