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74 percent of North Norway 'against EU'

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74 percent of North Norway 'against EU'
Northern Norwegian ciies like Bodø are keen to remain outside the EU, according to a new poll. File photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix
14:27 CEST+02:00
A poll has found that only 14 percent of people from North Norway are in favour of Norwegian EU membership.
The poll, conducted by InFact on behalf of national broadcaster NRK and Avisa Nordland, shows that 74 per cent of respondents in northern Norway are against EU membership, while 13 per cent responded that they were unsure.
 
"I am against the EU. The way it has become, with so much bureaucracy, I don't think that would be right for us. It's time to rethink things," Bodø resident Jan Møller told NRK.
 
There is a small difference between the individual counties in the northern part of the country, with 13.7 per cent in Nordland/Troms supporting membership compared to 15.9 per cent in Finnmark.
 
North Norway voted 28.6 per cent for and 71.4 per cent against EU membership in Norway's 1994 referendum, compared to the nationwide result of 52.2 per cent against and 47.8 per cent for membership.
 
Norway's rejection of EU membership but close links to the bloc through its membership in the European Economic Area (EEA) was often cited as a model Britain could follow in the lead up to the recent Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom.
 
Prime minister Erna Solberg recently stated that the British vote would not have any bearing on Norway's EEA status.
 
Kjell Ingebrigtsen of the Norwegian Fisherman's Association (Norges Fiskarlag) told NRK that he found it reassuring that the resonse to the poll was so convincing.
 
"We have so many advantages here in the north, particularly with regard to fishing, that we are better able to take advantage of independently," said Ingebrigtsen.
 
"It's important that we are able to make are own decisions on how to catch the various fish species," he continued.
 
Ingebrigtsen said that he believed savings made by removing EU tax barriers would not offset the loss of earnings from Norway losing full control over its fishing industry.
 
But former MP Ivar Kristiansen told NRK that, while the poll was not surprising, being outside of the EU was bad for the growth of the region in the long term.
 
"Staying out has preventing the region from having the the growth and population increase that we could have had. We are also missing out on enormous welath creation by keeping the fishing industry out. Now we are being marginalised."
 
Kristiansen said that scaremongering and constant warnings are to blame for the numbers produced by the poll.
 
"We are the region that is most dependent on having the best possible conditions and market access to Europe... economically we are able to get by on oil and gas. We have been able to afford to stay out, be that will not always necessarily be the case. Europe is a safe have in uncertain times like these," the former politician told NRK.
 
 
 
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