Norway Prime Minister: Britons Won't Like Norwegian-Style Brexit

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks at the donors conference for Syria, London, February 4. Solberg said Wednesday that Britons would not like a Brexit situation similar to her country's deal with the EU. Dan Kitwood/Reuters

Update | Norway's prime minister has said Britons "won't like" life outside the EU if they vote to leave the bloc as Brussels will impose key decisions without the U.K. participating in them.

Speaking to Politico, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that British Euroskeptics who advocate an arrangement like her country's are misguided.

Norway has similar access to the EU's single market to EU member states but is not a member itself, meaning that it struggles to influence decisions on the rules and regulations that govern this market.

This means, she said, that the country has to act like a "lobby organization" rather than a political partner, and that this had become even harder with the European Parliament taking on ever more powers.

"We used to talk to the Commission and we could call up the countries," Solberg said. "It's much more difficult to get the European Parliament to understand that Norway, which has decided not to become a member, should have special favors."

A poll commissioned by the Adam Smith Institute Think Tank earlier in June showed that 54 percent of Britons favored pursuing a deal similar to Norway's for five or 10 years after "Brexit," and some Euroskeptics believe such an offer would soften the uncertainty of a vote to leave for wavering voters.

But Prime Minister David Cameron has said that this type of arrangement would leave the U.K. with "no seat at the table, no ability to negotiate."

This article has been amended to correctly identify Norway's prime minister as Erna Solberg.