Last updated: 22/02/2016 // The aim of the government's European strategy is to promote Norwegian interests and to contribute to positive developments in Norway and Europe as a whole. Cooperation with the EU is essential to safeguard Norwegian interests in a broad range of areas.

The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, with its rights and obligations, is the backbone of our cooperation. The agreement ensures Norway´s participation in the EU Single Market and the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. It gives Norwegian companies access to a market of 31 countries and 500 million people.

Norway is deeply integrated with the EU through the EEA-agreement. Norway’s trade with EU countries accounts for a greater share of our foreign trade than of Britain’s. In relative terms Norway have more EU labour immigrants than the UK does, as Norway is also a part of Schengen. Norway implements more than three quarters of EU legislation, and we regularly align ourselves with EU positions on foreign and security policy. The EEA agreement is vital to Norway as it gives us open access to our largest market – the EU. It has been crucial for the development of the Norwegian economy, for Norwegian businesses, for Norwegian jobs and our welfare.

A central principle of the EEA Agreement is homogeneity, which means that the same rules and conditions of competition apply to all economic operators within the EEA. To maintain homogeneity, the EEA Agreement is continuously updated and amended to ensure that the legislation of the EEA EFTA states is in line with EU internal market legislation. Over the last 20 years Norway has implemented more than 10 000 pieces of EU legislation of which around half of them are in effect today.

There are, however, certain areas that the EEA agreement does not cover. These areas include the Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies (although the Agreement contains provisions on various aspects of trade in agriculture and fish products); the Customs Union; the Common Trade Policy; the Economic and Monetary Union. Although the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs are not part of the EEA agreement, Norway has close cooperation with the EU in these areas and some of the EFTA countries (including Norway) are part of the Schengen area.

Norway’s financial contribution

Norway’s financial contributions include funding to reduce disparities in Europe and contributions to the budget of EU programmes and agencies we participate in.

It is not possible to compare net payments between those of an EU Member State and those of a Non-Member state. However, Norway’s financial contributions related to our cooperation with the EU include the following:

The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement includes a goal to reduce social and economic disparities in the European Economic Area. Thus, the EEA EFTA States Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have contributed to European cohesion efforts through various financial mechanisms since the EEA Agreement entered into force in 1994.

For the period 2014 – 2021, Norway’s annual contribution to 15 beneficialry states through the current EEA and Norway Grants scheme will be 388 million euro, pending ratification of the agreement.

Norway participates in a number of EU programmes through provisions in the EEA Agreement or on the basis of bilateral agreements with the EU. The largest are the Horizon 2020 and, Erasmus+, Galileo and Copernicus. Norway (and our EEA partners Iceland and Liechtenstein) contributes to the budget of the programmes we participate in. For the period 2014 – 2020, Norway’s average annual commitment is 447 million euro.

Norway’s  cooperation with the EU in the field of justice and home affairs, including participation in the Schengen cooperation and agreements on cooperation in various areas, also entails some financial contributions.

In addition, for the period 2014 – 2020, Norway contributes around 25 million euro annually for our contribution in programmes under the European Territorial Cooperation INTERREG.

The EEA EFTA states normally fund their participation in EU programmes and agencies by an amount corresponding to the relative size of their GDP compared to the GDP of the whole EEA (proportionality factor). The EEA EFTA states participation is hence on equal footing with EU member states.

You can read more at the Norwegian government website (in English):

 Norway’s relations with Europe

 A brochure on Norway and the EU”.

The European Economic Area Agreement (EEA)

About the EEA and Norway Grants

Norway’s European Policy

 Official EEA grants website

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