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Norway has indicated that it may move to block the UK from rejoining the European Free Trade Association (Efta), the group of European nations with access to the single market without EU membership.

Many Brexit campaigners highlighted 'the Norway option' as an alternative to EU membership whilst maintaining access to the EU's crucial single market.

Quoted in the Norwegian newspaper, Aftenposten, Norway’s European affairs minister, Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, said "It’s not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country into this organisation. It would shift the balance, which is not necessarily in Norway’s interests.”

Norway has access to the single market through its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), along with other Efta members, including Iceland and Lichtenstein.

Ms Aspaker warned that the UK would only be permitted to join Efta if current members unanimously vote in its favour. She suggested that without knowing the UK's trading plans, Norway could veto the move.

One of Norway's biggest concerns is the impact the UK joining Efta would have on its existing trade agreement. Efta has completed 38 separate trade deals with countries like Mexico, Canada, Qatar and Colombia.

The Norwegian European affairs minister and her colleagues will meet with the UK's Brexit minister, David Davies, in the coming weeks to discuss the possibility of Great Britain joining Efta and the EEA.

Membership of the EEA requires free movement of persons, services, goods and capital. But one of those, free movement of persons, was a particularly contentious area of debate in the EU referendum campaign, with many Brexit supporters unhappy with levels of immigration.