Wednesday, 11 August 2004

More Norwegians opposed to joining the EU


For the first time since August 2002, a clear majority of Norwegians have declared their opposition towards membership of the European Union.

A poll conducted by Sentio-Norstat on behalf of three Norwegian newspapers (Dagen, Nationen and Klassekampen), showed that 45 percent of people in Norway are opposed to EU membership, while only 42.2 percent are in favour. 12.7 percent did not take a stand.

Commenting on the result, leader of the Norwegian No-movement, Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, said the EU question should now be shelved.

“This is my best advice to the yes-politicians”, he said according to Nationen adding that a new EU referendum would only be divisive and steal the attention from other more important international questions.

The swing towards the no has been attributed to the new EU Constitution.

“People have noticed the scepticism and resistance towards more EU integration in our neighbour countries”, said Mr Gjelsvik to Nationen. “The EU isn’t just rosy, fine and nice”.

Norway voted No to joining the EU in referendums in 1972 and 1994.

Pro-EU political parties are hoping for a third EU referendum after the next general elections in September 2005.

Lisbeth Kirk

This article first appeared on http://euobserver.com