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Norway Open for Dialogue With UK as London Figuring Post-Brexit EU Ties

Norway hopes to maintain good ties with Britain and is open for dialogue following the Brexit referendum, a senior member of the Norwegian Progress Party told Sputnik.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Norway is keen to maintain dialogue and good relations with the United Kingdom after Brexit, as Britain is working out its relations with the European Union after its decision to leave the bloc, a senior member of the Norwegian Progress Party told Sputnik on Wednesday.

"Norway has, and has had a good relationship with the United Kingdom. It is important that we maintain this sound relationship after Brexit. It is however for Britain to decide on their future connection with Europe. We follow this work with great interest, and will always be open to dialogue," Harald Nesvik, the parliamentary leader of the Progress Party that rules in coalition with the Conservative Party, said.

The lawmaker's comments come on the heels of Norwegian European Affairs Minister Elisabeth Vik Aspaker's statement that it is not necessarily in Oslo's interest that Britain should join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes non-EU members Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Norwegian officials have hinted they could block any potential UK access to the European Free Trade Association. - Sputnik International
UK Facing Post-Brexit Uncertainty as Norway Hints it Could Block EFTA Access
The issue at stake is whether the United Kingdom may retain access to the EU single market while also honoring the June 23 referendum results on leaving the bloc. The so-called European Economic Area may be joined only by an EU or EFTA member, so if Britain leaves the bloc but wishes to have continued access to the common market it will first have to apply for EFTA membership.

One of the major concerns for Norway in this case is that it may need to renegotiate dozens of trade agreements it has with non-EU countries in case the United Kingdom joins the group.

The United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the bloc on June 23, with almost 52 percent of the voters supporting Brexit.

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