Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has spoken out to advise the UK to remain in the EU.

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A member of the European Economic Area (EEA), but not the European Union, Norway is part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

This means Norway has access to trade with the EU for goods, services and capital, but in order to do so it must comply with EU trade laws over which it has almost no influence. It also must accept the EU’s free movement of people.

This issue was highlighted by the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Speaking to NTB newswires in January 2014, she said:

“I don’t believe that Great Britain, with its old empire mind-set, should consider becoming a member of an organisation which basically means that laws and rules which are made in other countries are implemented directly.”

“I think those in the British debate who look at Norway’s association underestimate how closely connected we actually are with many of the laws and rules they are annoyed with,” she said.

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The UK was a founding member of the EFTA in 1960, but left to join the EU’s economic community instead in 1973. If the UK left the EU to rejoin the EFTA it would have to renegotiate all of of its other trade deals starting from scratch. It is estimated it could take up to a decade to complete the process of renegotiating all of the UK’s existing deals.

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