No seat at the negotiating table for Norway if we leave the EEA
The Minister for European Affairs warns that there will be no seat at the negotiating table for Norway if we leave the EEA. But he does not close the door on changes.
There is currently a lot of noise around the EEA agreement. On Monday, LO leader Gerd Kristiansen went out and warned EEA opponents against terminating or amending the agreement. EEA chief Frank Bakke-Jensen points out that when Norway signed the agreement 25 years ago, there were six countries of EFTA side and 12 on the EU side.
– Today we are three EFTA countries, and after brexit, we still have 27 countries left in the EU, so the negotiating table we will come to now is quite different from what we sat in the early 90’s, he says.
The Minister does not rule out changes to the agreement.
– It may well be, but it must take place within the EEA co-operation. The point is to jump off and then think we will have a voice at the negotiating table when we come back is wrong, he continues, and emphasizes that Norway is best served by being in the European cooperation we are in today.
Bakke-Jensen believes the agreement can last another 25 years.
– Simply because it’s a dynamic deal like the ability to bring along the changes that happen. It does not look today as it did 25 years ago, and it will not look the same 25 years from now, he rounds of.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today