Norway’s Prime Minister, whose country is often put up as a model by Brits who want to leave the European Union, tells CNN that Brits won’t much like life outside the Union.
“We are a small country,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. “I think it will be more difficult for British voters to accept that Brussels decides and the Brits don’t have a say.”
“I think those who are saying there’s a good romantic story outside the European Union are underestimating the challenge that the whole process of division will have.”
Brits will go to the polls Thursday to decide whether to leave the European Union. Many who want to leave – the “Brexit” supporters – say the UK need not worry about leaving, because EU countries will be clamoring to trade with Britain.
Norway rejected EU membership in its own 1994 referendum. But the country nonetheless has access to the so-called “single market” trade zone – access for which it pays heavily both in money and by allowing free movement of people and capital.
“We really are, on some issues, more part of Europe, without the decision-making, than Britain is,” Solberg said.
Norway, the Prime Minister said, accepts decisions made by EU leaders and representatives and enshrines them in Norwegian law – without having any official seat at the table.
“We try to lobby and put our weight into the decision-making process, but when the final decision is made, the Norwegian politicians and the Norwegian people have to accept most of those regulations.”
“I don’t think that a large country like Britain would like to have that type of decision-making being made without participating in the decision making.”
“I agree that there are a lot of things that I don’t like about EU decisions.”
“Sometimes they are made by people who have another political view than I have. Being a conservative, I would like to have a little bit less of this very typical bureaucratic regulations.”
“But you know, sometimes you make compromises. And if you want to move the world ahead, you cannot always get your own will.”