Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said that she would prefer the Nordic country to be a full EU member, saying it would give Oslo greater influence in the decision-making process.
Norway is currently a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has access to the lucrative single market, but it has still accepted around 75% of EU laws without a seat at the table in Brussels. Voters have refused to fully join the European club on two separate occasions – in 1972 and 1994.
"My preference is for Norway to be members of the European Union," said the leader of the conservative Hoyre party. Highlighting the downside of not being a full EU member, Solberg added: "It's the lack of influence on important decision making processes in [the] European Union.
"We are integrating the laws that they are making for the European single market, we are having some special debates and special arrangements on some issues. But basically we have left part of our democracy to Europe," the Norwegian leader told the BBC.
In February 2016 prominent "Leave" campaigner Boris Johnson penned a piece in the Telegraph arguing that exiting the union will lead to greater UK sovereignty. "We are seeing a slow and invisible process of legal colonisation, as the EU infiltrates just about every area of public policy," the Mayor of London wrote.
In a frank and honest assessment of EU membership, Solberg said: "I believe that the European Union is a political organisation. It does make different decisions when they need to make it, but to believe that you will get everything you want and not give anything back – that doesn't happen in any political bargaining."
According to the CBI, Norway has implemented around 6,000 EU legal acts and is the tenth highest contributor to the bloc financially, despite not being a full member. It pays around €860m (£665.7m, $948m) per year towards programmes aimed at reducing economic disparities within the EU, according to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.
The country does not participate in farming and agricultural issues with the EU – two areas identified as the most important to the Norwegian population, according to Solberg.