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Justice and home affairs and the Schengen Agreement

Last updated: 10.03.2015 // The EU’s priorities in the area of justice and home affairs largely coincide with those of Norway. Therefore, Norway is associated with the EU justice and home affairs cooperation through various agreements. The most important of these is the Schengen Agreement.

Challenges facing EU member states relating to cross-border crime, illegal immigration and managing streams of refugees apply to Norway as well as the EU.

Norway joined the Schengen cooperation in 2001, and applies the Schengen acquis (the common set of Schengen rules) in full. This means that Norway applies the harmonised policies on visas and external border control.

Norway and the other Schengen states have abolished internal border control between them. To compensate for this, the Schengen cooperation includes parts of EU police cooperation, in which Norway participates actively. This cooperation is key to safeguarding internal security and fighting cross-border crime.

Norway is involved in the development of the Schengen acquis at all levels of the EU Council decision-making system, and has the right to speak, but not to vote. Those parts of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings in which Norway and other non-EU states participate are called meetings of the Mixed Committee.

It is important to ensure that all Schengen countries take on their share of the responsibility for effective control of the external borders. Norway participates in the European Borders Agency, Frontex, which aims to coordinate the management of the common external borders.

Other parts of EU justice and home affairs cooperation also have implications for Norway. Therefore, Norway and the EU have entered into cooperation within various areas, including the following:

  • The Dublin cooperation, which establishes the criteria and mechanisms for determining which state is responsible for examining an asylum application;
  • The European Migration Network, which contributes to policy development on migration and asylum;
  • Europol, the European Law Enforcement Organisation, which aims at improving cooperation between the competent authorities in EU member states and their effectiveness in preventing and combating terrorism, drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime. Three Norwegian liaison officers are posted to the organisation’s headquarters in The Hague;
  • Eurojust, a cooperation network set up to encourage and coordinate the investigation and prosecution of serious cross-border crime. A Norwegian public prosecutor and a Norwegian police prosecutor are currently working for Eurojust in The Hague;
  • The European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which aims at enhancing practical cooperation on asylum matters and helping member states fulfil their European and international obligations to give protection to people in need.
  • An agreement on mutual legal assistance (exchange of information between law-enforcement and prosecution services);
  • A surrender agreement based on the principles of the European Arrest Warrant*;
  • An agreement on the Prüm Treaty on enhanced police cooperation in order to combat terrorism and international crime*.

*Upon entry into force


More information:

Document: The Norwegian Government's Strategy for cooperation with the EU 2014 - 2017
Website: EEA Policy Areas on www.efta.int
Website: Ministry of Justice and Public Security


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