LATEST: ‘Norway-style’ Brexit plan impossible, Oslo tells Scotland
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon proposed the “Norway option” as a way to preserve the country’s single market access after the U.K. leaves the EU | Jeff J Mitchell – WPA Pool /Getty Images
Norway has called Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to keep Scotland in the single market “impossible,” BuzzFeed News has reported.
Scotland’s first minister proposed the “Norway option” as a way to preserve the country’s single market access after the U.K. leaves the EU. In a plan, titled Scotland’s Place in Europe, Sturgeon suggests that Scotland join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and subsequently the European Economic Area (EEA) post-Brexit.
But the head of the Norwegian parliament’s EFTA and EEA delegation, Svein Roald Hansen, insisted Scotland would have to be an independent country before it could gain single market membership.
“To enter the EEA agreements, they have to be either be a member of the EU like they are today or a member of EFTA,” Hansen told BuzzFeed. “If they were to become members of EFTA, they would first have to break free from the U.K.,” adding that Scotland could not have one set of trade agreements as part of the U.K. and another as part of EFTA.
The Scottish government has acknowledged it may need “some form of sponsorship” from the U.K. to join EFTA, citing the Faroe Islands (whom Denmark may sponsor to enter EFTA) as a precedent.
According to Hansen, however, there is no scope for the Faroe Islands to gain access to the single market through EEA.
According to a Scottish government spokesperson, “Brexit is unprecedented and so calls for unprecedented solutions, some of which may — as we have openly acknowledged — be complex and challenging.”