Policy Areas

Agreements between Norway and the EU within the field of freedom, security and justice

The EU goal in the area of justice and home affairs is to develop an area of “freedom, security and justice”. Since the Amsterdam treaty entered into force in 1999, this has been a very dynamic area of European integration.

09/02/2005 :: The Schengen system is, along with the EEA agreement, among the most operative parts of the co-operation between Norway and the EU. However, many of the recent developments in the field of justice and home affairs fall outside the areas covered by the Norwegian association agreement with Schengen, i.e. not considered “Schengen relevant”.

Norway has, however, also concluded a number of other agreements in this field, which complement the Schengen association agreement. In this article you will find a short presentation of these agreements.

1. Asylum Policy

1.1 The association agreement to the Dublin regulation
In an area of free movement of persons, it is also important to have rules on which country shall be responsible for examining an asylum application. This must be done so as to avoid situations where refugees are shuttled from one State to another, with none accepting responsibility. Such rules can also prevent multiple or simultaneous asylum applications (“visa-shopping”). In February 2003, the EU Council of Ministers adopted the Dublin II Regulation, which established a series of criteria, which, in general, allocate responsibility for examining an asylum application to the Member State that permitted the applicant to enter or to reside on its territory. The Dublin II Regulation replaced an earlier Convention (the Dublin Convention), which Norway was party to. Therefore, Norway negotiated an agreement with the EU having the effect of extending the rights and obligations in the Regulation to its territory http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/news/intro/news_191202_en.htm#  http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l33081.htm.

1.2 Common European Asylum System (CEAS)
The CEAS involves legislation covering procedures for treatment of asylum applications, how to determine the status to be given an asylum seeker, the conditions of reception, as well as forms of temporary protection. This legislation is important for Norway, because flows of asylum seekers are influenced by differences in conditions from one country to another. The CEAS also involves determining the state responsible for handling individual asylum applications (the Dublin 2 regulation) as well as operational co-operation through a special information system for this purpose (Eurodac). Norway is taking directly part in this work.

1.3 Partnership with third countries.
The European Union gives high priority to developing partnerships with third countries in the formation of migration policy, be they countries of origin for migratory flows towards Europe or countries of transit. These partnerships will involve policies for dealing with the root causes of migration, as well as policies for dealing with refugee flows when they arise. Finding durable solutions for refugees will be an important part of this, both local solutions and resettlement solutions. Norway follows this work closely and is involved in parts of it.

1.4 Return and readmission policy.

The European Union’s policies on return of illegal immigrants and readmission to their country of origin or transit are in many respects linked to the policies of partnerships with third countries. However, they may also cover countries that are not involved in partnership projects. Readmission agreements are the main tool here, as well as the development of common standards for return practices. Norway is participating directly in certain parts of this co-operation, and is influenced by the readmission agreements that are concluded.

1.6 Integration policies.
Integration of immigrants with legal right to stay in Europe is a high priority for both the European Union and for Norway. Norway participates actively in the dialogue that takes place on these questions in the Union.

2. Co-operation in criminal matters

2.1 Agreement between Europol and Norway
Once a person is inside the Schengen area, (s)he is free to move around wherever (s)he wants. It is therefore vital that checks and controls at the Schengen’s external frontiers are rigorous enough to stop illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other unlawful activities. In order to reinforce efforts to combat serious organised crossborder crime, Norway signed a co-operation agreement with the European Police Office (Europol) in June 2001. In spring 2002, Norway was the first third country to send a liaison officer to Europol in The Hague, The Netherlands.


2.2 Agreement between Eurojust and Norway
In summer 2004 Norway, as the first third country, concluded the negotiations with Eurojust concerning a co-operation agreement. Eurojust was established by the Council in February 2002 to stimulate and improve the co-ordination between competent authorities in the Member states when dealing with investigations and prosecutions of cross border crime. The agreement has not yet been signed as it awaits approval of the Council (of the EU). It is expected that Norway will post a public prosecutor in The Hague from summer 2005.


2.3 Agreement between Norway and the EU concerning Mutual legal assistance
In order to simply the practical judicial co-operation in criminal matters in Europe, Norway and it’s Schengen partner Iceland on 17 December 2003 signed an agreement with the EU to apply a Conventions developed by the EU on mutual legal assistance. The agreement implies that the two countries will apply the 2000 Convention and its additional protocol from 2001. The agreement has not yet entered into force.


2.4 An agreement between Iceland and Norway and the EU on arrest and surrender procedures 
In the autumn 2001, the Council (of the European Union) decided that the Commission proposal on a framework decision on a European Arrest Warrant was not to be considered “Schengen-relevant”, Iceland and Norway were offered to start negotiations on how to associate Norway and Iceland with “the mechanism a European Arrest Warrant”. The negotiations started in spring 2003, and have not yet been concluded.




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