Statement on UK referendum

Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg on the result of the UK referendum 24 June 2016.

The British people have spoken.

A majority has voted for the UK to leave the EU.

The UK referendum marks a watershed for European cooperation. 

The UK’s decision presents us with new political challenges.  

Europe’s leaders need to fully acknowledge the unease and lack of trust felt by many voters.

We need more cooperation, not less.

It is in everyone’s interests to maintain close and meaningful cooperation in Europe.

Norway is a small and open economy.

Our jobs and our welfare depend on the European market.

Open trade and economic cooperation must therefore be safeguarded.

Working together will still be the only way to address major challenges such as migration, security and climate change.

It is in Norway’s interests that we find common solutions.

Norway’s association with the EU is firmly established through the EEA Agreement. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has not changed this.

It is now first and foremost up to the British authorities to define their next steps and the form of cooperation they will seek.  

Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced his intention to resign.

I would like to thank him for our close and constructive cooperation – both in our role as prime ministers and as Conservative Party members.  

We have stood together on many important issues, and here I would particularly like to highlight the international donor conference for Syria, held in London in February.

Today’s situation means that politicians across Europe have a great responsibility to work to find solutions that can safeguard European cooperation. This cooperation is vital for drawing the world’s attention to the key challenges Europe is facing. And it is vital for rekindling optimism among the voters in Europe who today feel that their concerns are not being heard.