Norway waits for clear signal to begin negotiations with the UK

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen SøreideForeign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide .Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Norway wants to get started with negotiations with the British,but needs a green light from Brussels.


“Norway needs clarification about how the Commission looks at Britain’s need for authorisation to start negotiations with Norway,” said Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide of Høyre (H) in her semi-annual statement to parliament on important EU and EEA issues.

She will raise the matter on Wednesday when she meets EU boss,Michel Barnier in Brussels.

The problem is that the British do not have the right to negotiate with third party countries on their own as long as they are still in the EU.

What Norway now wants to know is whether it is fine to start negotiations during the transition period after Brexit, so that new agreements can come into effect as soon as the transition period is over. The transition period begins on the 30th of March 2019, and lasts until the 31st of December 2020.

The EU has already made it clear that new agreements can not enter into force until this transitional period is over.
Norwegian diplomats,on the other hand, are uncertain about the signals from the EU about how early negotiations can begin. Should new agreements come into force immediately after the transition period, it is crucial to get started with negotiations as quickly as possible.

According to Søreide, the government is already preparing for the mandate and practical arrangements for the forthcoming negotiations.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today