Norwegian officials have warned the EU that Norway will demand major changes to the EEA agreement if the British get a deal than Norways.
According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, Norway gave an unofficial warning to the EU that Norway won’t be satisfied with its current agreement with the EU if British demands for a separate trade agreement are met.
Norwegian representatives have repeatedly told this to EU officials because they are worried that a generous agreement between the EU and the UK will lead to a re-negotiation of Norway’s relationship with the EU.
Norwegian interference could mean new problems for Prime Minister Theresa May’s with her wish to establish what she has called a ‘deep and special partnership’ with the EU, wrote The Guardian.
Norway pays more money to the EU than the UK, and has accepted the free movement of people in exchange for access to the EU’s internal market. At the same time, Norway has no influence over decisions taken in Brussels.
In a document about the demands made by EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, for the UK, leaked to the Guardian, it is stated that the EU will insist that EU citizens have the right to free movement to the United Kingdom during a transitional period.
At the same time, Barnier believes that all EU citizens moving to the UK before the 31st of December, 2020 should be subject to a special agreement after Brexit.
The UK wishes that the agreement will only apply to persons who moved to the UK before March the 29th, 2017, the same date as May gave a clear signal that the Brexit process could begin.
The UK and the EU agreed before Christmas on the first leg of the agreement, which included how much the British will have to pay the EU in divorce settlements, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the rights of EU citizens in the UK. The second leg of the negotiations is about the future relationship between Brussels and London.
In Norway, negotiations are being closely followed, and the Senterparti are among those who believe that Brexit could trigger a debate on Norway’s association with the EU.
‘The Arbeiderpartiet (Ap) and the other EEA parties can say that the EEA agreement is as much as they want, but if it lasts a few years, and the UK gets a better deal than we have, it will become impossible not to discuss a new solution, the Senterparti’s Deputy Chairperson, Ola Borten Moe, told Klassekampen newspaper.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today