A “Norwegian solution” for Britain post-Brexit does not appear to be on the cards given London’s position concerning the so-called ‘four freedoms’, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg told CNBC on Friday.
“I think we have very good working relations on the basis of not being members of the European Union but it does have as a part, the four freedoms,” Solberg said in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in Hamburg.
The four freedoms underpin the EU’s internal market and refer to the freedom of movement for goods, services, capital and workers.
Norway, while not a member of the European Union, is part of the European Economic Area and has access to the bloc’s lucrative tariff-free single market.
When asked whether Norway could be seen as a potential role model for Britain post-Brexit, Solberg replied, “To be a partner in the single market, we have accepted the four freedoms and so my feeling is that the teams in the British debate does not lead up to a Norwegian solution.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has consistently argued the U.K. must be willing to accept the bloc’s four freedoms if it wishes to retain access to the single market.
Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is in support of leaving the EU’s internal market as a way of bringing an end to the free movement of EU citizens in Britain.
Elsewhere, a focus of the G-20 meeting in Germany’s northern port city are the major shifts in the geopolitical landscape. While President Donald Trump has championed his administration’s “America First” policies, Europe and China appear to have strengthened ties.
When asked whether an international power shift had resulted in China and Europe jumping into a void filled by the U.S., Solberg championed Europe as a “strong force for global development” but was cautious regarding the continent’s future ties with Beijing.
“China is giving a lot of speeches that is to the heart of all us who believe in free trade and a rule-based world… of course you always have to see the activity afterwards,” Solberg added.
Brexit: A Norwegian solution for Britain does not appear forthcoming, says Norway PM