Norway’s cooperation with the EU is based on this vision: a Europe that is secure, free, and economically strong, and where the individual countries take joint responsibility for addressing shared challenges.
Norwegian foreign policy starts in Europe. European countries are Norway’s close allies, and the EU is our most important trading partner. There is a considerable degree of economic interdependence between Norway and the EU, for example in key sectors such as energy and seafood. We have similar views on a range of issues in international politics, including free trade and multilateralism, and we agree on the need for binding international cooperation on climate change. Consultations and operative cooperation with the EU on foreign and security policy is therefore extensive. The rights and obligations inherent in our Schengen membership also bring us closer together. All in all, our shared European interests and values form the basis for Norway’s cooperation with EU institutions and member states.
Norway’s partnership with the EU is also important in our efforts to restructure our own economy, fulfilling Norway’s climate commitments, promoting an inclusive labour market, ensuring that welfare schemes are effective, reducing poverty and marginalisation, and significantly stepping up efforts to promote integration. All of these areas have a European dimension.
The EEA Agreement occupies a unique position among the various agreements Norway has concluded with the EU, and is the cornerstone in our relations. It helps to ensure economic security and predictability. It is vital for the Norwegian business sector, for jobs, and for our ability to maintain a sustainable welfare society. Without labour from other EEA countries, many Norwegian businesses would come to a standstill. Without access to the internal market and a level playing field in the EEA, the Norwegian export industry would suffer.
Under the EEA Agreement, Norwegian citizens have opportunities that were unthinkable in the past. Many Norwegians make use of their rights under the Agreement to cross borders, live, work, invest, and study in other EEA countries.
The EEA and Norway Grants are the main financial instrument of Norway’s European policy. Through the grants scheme Norway contributes to social and economic cohesion, thereby helping to realise our vision of a secure, free, economically strong and responsible Europe.
We enjoy excellent cooperation with the Romanian EU Presidency, keeping a close dialogue on political level and taking part in the EU informal ministerial meetings relevant to our close partnership. Partly financed through the EEA and Norway Grants, we are also joining efforts with the Romanian presidency on these issues and events:
A conference in Bucharest to support the engagement and development of civil society
A conference in Bucharest on the Istanbul Convention perspectives: Towards a Europe free from violence against women and girls
A conference in Sinaia on radicalization and on overcrowding in prisons.
A seminar in Bucharest on countering plastic waste pollution in Europe
A conference in Brussels on Work related crime and how to counter severe labour exploitation
A conference in Bucharest to look for new opportunities to support youth employment in the Western Balkans
A conference in Bucharest on renewable energy technologies and Carbon Capture and Storage