Auteur: | By Lisbeth Kirk
A majority of Norwegians are still opposed to membership of the EU, but the lead has narrowed dramatically in recent weeks.
The no side was leading polls consistently by 10-15 per cent in the first half of the year, but according to a new poll published by Norwegian daily Nationen the gap between the two blocs has narrowed to just 3.8 percent.
Now 46.8 percent would vote against membership in a referendum, while 43 per cent would vote yes. Last month only 38.3 percent said they would vote yes while 48 per cent said they would vote no.
"A new room will open for EU discussion in Norway if the tendency continues and we will be ready for it, said Heming Olaussen, leader of the Norwegian cross-party No to EU organisation, according to Nationen.
Both the yes and the no fronts were taken by surprise by the new poll, which questioned 1000 people and was conducted by the Sentio institute between 25 and 31 July.
"There has been no major events during the past month that indicated a turn to the yes", said Grete Berget, secretary general of the pro-EU European Movement.
Meanwhile Iceland, the other Nordic country outside the EU appears to be moving in the opposite direction.
The chairman of the Social Democratic Alliance, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, said in an interview with the Icelandic TV station NFS that the party was prepared to put its policy of entering membership negotiations with the EU aside in order to be able to participate in a coalition government after the next general election due in May next year.
The Social Democratic Alliance is the only political party in Iceland in favour of entering membership negotiations with the EU, all other parties are against the idea.
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