Brexit worries Norway’s PM

Michael Sandelson voices several concerns should Britain “Leave”

Photo: Jeff Djevdet / Flickr The UK stunned the world on June 23 by voting to leave the EU.

Photo: Jeff Djevdet / Flickr
The UK stunned the world on June 23 by voting to leave the EU.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Erna Solberg voices concern on several matters ahead of Britain’s “Leave” vote.

One of the issues that the Norwegian Prime Minister lists is strengthened right-wing populism within Europe, especially regarding those opposed to immigration and European unity.

Norway’s current government is a right-wing coalition consisting of the Conservatives (H) and populists the Progress Party (FrP).

“I am most concerned about the political consequences. The emergence of more nationalism and the rise in support for more extreme organizations certainly means that we’ll become more paralyzed in areas where we need more common solutions in Europe. And should Europe become more paralyzed then the world will become more paralyzed too,” she told TV2/NTB.

“A weakened EU and a more fragmented and nationalistic Europe will mean that the economic situation will become more difficult when we need reforms and competitiveness. But it will also mean a more political and fragmented Europe, a weaker Europe, and a weaker world,” the PM commented to NRK.

Brexit will hit trade and Norway’s economic situation as well, she fears. “We’re a small country with an open economy. We need access to international markets and growth to manage the current remodeling of the Norwegian economy,” Aftenposten quoted her as saying. “Norwegians are Anglo-Saxon in their heads and are focused on the U.S. and UK. But our closest economic ties are with Sweden and Germany. A worse situation for them means a worse situation for us.”

And as European financial institutions steel themselves for a possible capital markets crunch, Prime Minister Solberg states that the government is in a state of emergency preparedness.

“We’ve assessed the consequences of this [Brexit]. The indirect effects are the most important. In the short-term, we know that international banks and others have taken precautions to try to neutralize [matters] should there be major currency fluctuations,” she told TV2.

France’s biggest companies and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi are amongst those who have appealed to British voters to vote “Remain.”

In a statement after the vote, Solberg added that while “The UK’s decision presents us with new political challenges,” and “Europe’s leaders need to fully acknowledge the unease and lack of trust felt by many voters,” Norway would remain an open economy.

“Norway’s association with the EU is firmly established through the EEA Agreement. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has not changed this.”

She concluded, “Today’s situation means that politicians across Europe have a great responsibility to work to find solutions that can safeguard European cooperation.”

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit

It also appeared in the July 1, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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