Other Policy Areas

Enlargement of the EU and the EEA

Through the recently signed EEA Enlargement Agreement, Norway and the two other EEA EFTA States will be associated with EU enlargement. The EEA Enlargement Agreement ensures the participation of the ten EU Accession States in the EEA and provides for Financial Mechanisms through which the three EEA EFTA States jointly and Norway bilaterally will contribute substantially to reducing social and economic disparities in Europe.

On 1 May 2004 the European Union will be enlarged with ten new Member States; Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic. Norway supports the enlargement of the EU, as it will be one of the most important contributions to peace, stability and development in Europe.

Norway will be associated with the EU enlargement through the parallel enlargement of the European Economic Area (EEA), in which Norway is a part. Norway and the two other EEA EFTA States, the European Commission and the Acceding States opened negotiations on the EEA enlargement on 9 January 2003. The negotiations were successfully concluded with the initialling the EEA Enlargement Agreement in Brussels on 3 July 2003. The recently signed EEA Enlargement Agreement will in the coming months go through national ratification processes in order to ensure simultaneous enlargement of the EU and the EEA on 1 May 2004.

Within the enlarged EEA, trade relations between the EEA EFTA States and the new EU Member States will be strengthened considerably. The enlarged EEA will comprise some 475 million inhabitants, making it the world's largest internal market.

The EEA Enlargement Agreement ensures the participation of the ten new EU Member States in the EEA and provides for Financial Mechanisms through which the three EEA EFTA States jointly and Norway bilaterally will contribute substantially to reducing social and economic disparities in Europe. Within the scope of the EEA, the EEA Enlargement Agreement also ensures application of the same adaptations and transitional arrangements in the EEA as those laid down in the EU Treaty of Accession.

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