MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Norwegian European Affairs Minister Elisabeth Vik Aspaker suggested that it was not exactly in Oslo's interests if London joined the EFTA, which includes non-EU members Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, following the UK formal withdrawal from the European Union.
"The UK is one of Norway’s main trading partners and we are confident that we will find good solutions to our mutual benefit after Brexit, also through the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), if this is an option the UK wants to explore," the spokesperson said.
EFTA membership is the only way for a non-EU member to gain access to the European common market. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to secure a Brexit which will allow Britain to remain part of the EU single market, with some politicians suggesting joining the EFTA as the best way to do so.
"Currently we are awaiting decisions from the UK regarding how they chose to proceed with the process of leaving the European Union," the ministry's spokesperson added.
Before the summer break, the Norwegian government set up an interministerial working group to assess the consequences of Britain's EU exit, with a separate working party within the Foreign Ministry being set up to look into how to safeguard Norway’s interests. It is still uncertain when the bodies would submit the results of their research.