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Norway’s foreign min urges UK to stay in EU

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 Norway’s foreign min urges UK to stay in EU
Foreign Minister Børge Brende spoke on the BBC's Today Programme. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix
00:15 CEST+02:00
Norwegian foreign minister Børge Brende has warned that the UK will lose influence, while still being forced to implement European Union directives, if it chooses to leave the union.
Brende told the UK's Today programme (at 2:33:55) on Radio 4 that the Nordic country was quick to implement EU directives, without having a seat “around the table” when new rules are being discussed.
 
“Our arrangement being part of the European Economic Area is that we have to implement all the EU directives,” he said. 
 
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum on leaving the EU before the end of 2017, and according to the latest opinion poll, a British exit is a real possibility, with 45 percent in favour of leaving.
 
A 'yes' vote would make the UK the first country to withdraw from the union. 
 
Norway has twice held referenda on joining the EU,  in 1972 and 1994, with Norwegians voting both times to remain outside.
 
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party is in favour of joining the EU, however no referendum is planned as a clear majority of Norwegians oppose the idea. 
 
In Britain Eurosceptics have cited Norway’s relationship with the EU as an example when arguing for a UK exit.
 
Brende argued that the EU would be weaker without Britain, urging the country to stay.
 
”We see Britain as an important voice also in the EU, we know Britain is now seeing a recovery in its economy,” he said. ”Part of this is also addressing the bureaucracy in Brussels, in a no-nonsense manner. I think Britain is that kind of voice in the EU.”
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