Pro-EU Campaigners Gain Ground in Norway
According to a new poll, a small majority of Norwegians now favor EU membership.
The 'yes' side in Norway has gained ground lately, moving from 47 percent in April to 51 percent now in favor of Norwegian EU membership. The 'no' side appears stable at 36 percent according to the poll - published by NRK and Aftenposten. The survey of 1,000 individuals was conducted by the Opinion institute between May 10 and May 12. The latest enlargement of the EU with 10 new member states entering the union in May 1 is widely thought to be the main reason for the rise of the 'yes' side. Norway has twice rejected EU membership in referendums - in 1972 and in 1994. It is expected that the Norwegian EU debate will heat up again in the run-up to the next election, which will be held in September 2005. Members of the small Liberal party, which was opposed to membership in the two previous EU referenda, seem to be among those who have changed their mind. According to the survey, 50 percent of members of this party are now in favor of EU membership with 38 percent opposed. In September, the annual party conference will decide if it needs to consult all party members in an internal poll, before fixing the political line of the party.