January 9, 2018 / 12:32 PM / a year ago

Norway PM hopes Britain will stay close to EU single market after Brexit

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg attends the One Planet Summit at the Seine Musicale center in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Tuesday she hoped Brexit would tie Britain “as close as possible” to the single European market to which non-EU member Norway belongs.

She said Norway was ready to negotiate in any policy areas that were left outside an eventual agreement between the EU and Britain.

“Of course we hope for Brexit that connects the British ... as close as possible to the single market. That will be the easiest way to work together in the future,” Solberg told Reuters on the sidelines of a business conference.

“If not we are prepared to negotiate in all of the areas. We feel we have a good cooperation both with Britain and the EU,” she added.

Norway is western Europe’s top producer of oil and gas, and has an intricate network of pipes for transporting its natural gas to Britain, Germany and other European nations, but Brexit was unlikely to affect energy exports, Solberg said.

“I don’t think it affects the energy sector for the cooperation in the our gas trade,” she added.

Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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