A new survey suggests that only 44 percent of Norwegians firmly support Norway’s trade agreement with the EU, called the EØS-avtale. The survey, conducted for the Norwegian foreign policy institute NUPI, reveals more public skepticism than expected in the middle of the parliamentary election campaign.
Fully 32 percent of those questioned said they would vote against the agreement if a referendum on the trade deal were to be held, while 44 percent would vote in favour. the remaining 24 percent were uncertain.
The trade deal gives Norway full access to the EU inner market. Norway, in return, must go along with most EU rules, regulations and directives even though Norway has voted twice against EU membership. Norwegians also benefit from free movement of goods, services and people among EU countries but have no say in actual EU decisions.
Most Norwegian businesses and industry support the trade deal, with Norwegian employers organization NHO calling the survey results “extremely worrisome.” NHO has itself conducted regular surveys showing support for the EØS-avtale lying at around 60 percent. NHO considers the deal to provide among the most important framework for Norwegian business and industry.