Support soars for EU trade deal

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A new survey shows that 62 percent of Norwegians still don’t want to join the EU, but record large numbers support Norway’s trade deal with the EU, known as the EØS/EEA agreement. Only 22 percent oppose it, bad news for the Center Party and others who complain that it forces EU policy upon them.

The poll, conducted by research firm Sentio for newspaper Klassekampen, indicates fully 66 percent of those questioned support the agreement and think it’s good for Norwegian business. That’s historically high, up 10 full percentage points since the last such poll.

“We just have to acknowledge that Brexit has influenced the Norwegian debate and made people more positive towards the EØS,” said Torgeir Knag Fylkenes, a Member of Parliament for the Socialist Left Party (SV), which has traditionally opposed both the EU and the EU trade deal. In return for full market access to the EU, Norway is expected to go along with most EU rules and regulations even though it’s not an EU member. Norwegians also have all reciprocal benefits linked to free flow of goods, services and people across borders.

SV is among the parties keen to negotiate a new post-Brexit deal with the EU, but even 75 percent of its own voters support the current deal. There also are many more EØS supporters within Center, which firmly opposes both the EU and EØS on the grounds it undermines Norway’s sovereignty.

newsinenglish.no staff