The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, is currently enjoying a week-long family holiday in Majorca, away from the cold back home, but yesterday she took time out to explain to the Bulletin that, while Europe would rather the UK remains in the EU, the result of the referendum should be respected and that if the UK is going to leave, it should stop trying to cherry pick and make a clean break.
"Britain made its decision, perhaps there are grounds for revising the referendum now that the general public, and politicians, know the full implications and economic challenges of what Brexit means, but that’s a very difficult decision for the prime minister to make and could only complicate matters more.
"What politicians have to do is to start finding things they can agree on as opposed to ones they constantly disagree on. A common solution has got to be found.
"If the UK still wants to leave, then get on with it, but it is for Britain to decide. Getting rid of Theresa May would be an easy option, but it would not be the solution, it would not solve the root of the problem and that is Britain’s political culture. For example in Norway, my Conservative government is one of dialogue and compromise, that’s how our political system works. We all sit down and try to find the best solution for the good of the country and the people. Why can’t they do that in London?
"We did not join the EU over agricultural and fisheries policies but we have a very close relationship with the UK. We are not only Anglo Saxon and Anglo American but very close allies, especially when it comes to the military.
"Norway and the UK are extremely well advanced in talks about the rights of Norwegians living in the UK and visa versa and nothing will change, Brexit or not. And we’re also working on some very solid trade agreements. However, that is going to become more difficult with the UK out of the EU. There will be more paper work and bureaucracy," the prime minister told the Bulletin yesterday evening.
Solberg’s Cabinet, often referred to informally as the "Blue-Blue Cabinet", is a two-party minority government consisting of the Conservative Party and Progress Party.
"What Britain cannot do is leave with added extras which they still want, it’s got to be leave or not at all. Britain can’t leave but still have it all."
But against the backdrop of Brexit, Spain is now Norway’s most popular holiday destination. Yesterday, the Prime Minster’s husband, Sindre Finnes, visited Alcudia to see why it is so popular with Norwegians.
The couple are no strangers to Spain, but this is the first time they have come to Majorca as a family. The prime minister came last year with a group of former school friends and she said that, quite simply, the main attraction is the weather.
"The temperature is still falling below zero at night and during the summer we’re lucky if the maximum reaches 17ºC. But it is also the quality of life and now there are so many direct flights to Majorca and other coastal regions in Spain, the Norwegians’ love affair with Majorca is flourishing.
"More and more are spending longer periods of time here and some are deciding to invest and live here. And the tourist tax is certainly no deterrent. I fully understand if a region or country decides to introduce such a tax to cover the costs of maintaining the infrastructure, natural resources and the environment, etc. in view of the huge human pressure of tourism. We are having the same debate about our ski resorts.
"I’ve never heard a Norwegian talk about the tourist tax. If the money is spent on keeping Majorca clean and well protected, we’re happy to come."