Brexit: Can UK learn from Norway?

Brexit: Can UK learn from Norway?
By Damon Embling
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What's it like to be close to the EU, but not a member?


What's it like to be close to the EU, but not actually a member?

As Brexit Britain tries to close a deal with Brussels, Norway could offer some clues.

Ambassadors from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein seen here signing off on EU legislation.

Paul Frisvold's written a book about Oslo's relations with the EU.

"The Norway model means that we are fully part of the internal market besides fisheries and agriculture but we are not represented in decisions making bodies," explained Frisvold, author of 'Towards Europe, the Story of a Reluctant Norway.

"So when we have our views on the rules that the EU adopt, we convey them at early stage to the Commission, and then we try to lobby the member states."

Norway is not represented at the European Council. But representatives gather with their EU counterparts, sometimes with forums taking place at Norway House in Brussels.

Frisvold commented: "So, it is Europe bit by bit but not membership. We feel sometimes we are secondary citizens of Europe. That is true."

Norway's Ambassador to the EU briefs businesses and regional offices - to keep them up to speed on EU legislation.

"We are not sitting at the table and taking decisions, that is true. But we are working very closely with the European Parliament, to mention one thing, we are working closely with the European Commission," said Oda Helen Sletnes.

"We have Norwegian experts in the Commission and we try to see the relevant issues for us at a very early stage of proposals by the Commission."

Britain's Theresa May has ruled out the Norway model. So, what could London get in the end as it splits from the EU?

Frisvold commented: "What will they consist of well, they will have to find a political agreement about a new model…. my bet is that it won’t be the EEA but it will pretty dam close."

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