24 Dec 2012

UK advised to stay in EU

8:37 am on 24 December 2012

Foreign Minister Espen Eide of Norway has urged Britain to assess the advantages of staying in the European Union, rather than consider leaving.

Norway is not in the EU, but has access to the single market. Eurosceptics use it as a model for how Britain could relate to the EU from outside.

But Mr Eide said Oslo has "limited scope for influence".

"We are not at the table when decisions are made," he told a programme on BBC Radio 4.

Prime Minister David Cameron has consistently said he supports Britain's continued membership.

However, the BBC reports he has hinted at a possible referendum to allow people an opportunity to give "fresh consent" on the issue.

Mr Cameron is expected to give a speech on Europe early in the new year.

Norwegian voters twice rejected a chance to join the EU in referendums in 1972 and 1994.