Policy Areas

Social Affairs

EU instruments in the field of social affairs include legislation, programmes and a substantial number of other measures, such as the open method of cooperation, peer reviews, conferences, statistics and comparative reports. The legislation on social security has been a part of the EEA Agreement from the outset. A number of programmes and related activities, such as the Social Exclusion Programme and the European Year for People with Disabilities, has been added to the Agreement at a later stage. The Community Action Programme to combat discrimination 2001-2006 was added to the Agreement in December 2003.

Social Affairs
EU instruments in the field of social affairs include legislation, programmes and a substantial number of other measures, such as the open method of cooperation, peer reviews, conferences, statistics and comparative reports. The legislation on social security has been a part of the EEA Agreement from the outset. A number of programmes and related activities, such as the Social Exclusion Programme and the Anti-Discrimination Programme, have been added to the Agreement at a later stage.


Social Security
The EU provisions in this field establish common rules and principles that must be observed by all national authorities, social security institutions and courts when applying national laws. They do not replace the respective national social security systems with a single European system. The relevant legislation, Regulation 1408/71 and Regulation 574/72, ensures that the application of the various countries’ national legislation does not prevent persons from exercising their right to move freely within the EU and the EEA. The main objective is to ensure that a person who has exercised his or her right to move within this area may not be placed in a worse position in terms of social security rights than a person who has always resided and worked in a single Member State. There is a considerable jurisprudence on this topic from the European Court of Justice. Norwegian experts participate fully in the relevant EU committees dealing with social security. The co-operation with the EU in this field is the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The National Insurance Administration has the main responsibility for the implementation of legislation in this field. For further information, please consult the social security website of DG Employment and Social Affairs.

Contact point at Mission of Norway: [email protected]

Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion: [email protected]

Contact point at the National Insurance Administration: [email protected]

Persons with disabilities
There are over 37 million people with disabilities in the European Union. A society open and accessible to all is the goal of the European Union Disability Strategy (2004-2010), which was adopted in 2004. The barriers for disabled need to be identified and removed. This approach has been stimulutad by the United Nations Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. The European Union Disability Strategy has three main focuses:
· Cooperation between the European Commission and the Member States
· Full Participation of People with Disabilities
· Mainstreaming Disability in the formulation of other EU policies
Most of the practical work of making a society accessible can best be achieved at a national level. The subsidiarity principle applies – what can be achieved better at national level shall be done at national level. But even where the Member States are the principal actors the Commission play a part by aiming to strengthen cooperation with and between the Member States in the disability field, promote the collection, exchange and development of comparable information and statistics and good practice and  raise awareness of disability issues. A forum for exchange with the Member States is the High Level Group on Disability (HLGD) which meets on a regular basis.
 Since the EEA Agreement entered into force in 1994, Norway has participated in EU programmes and activities for persons with disabilities , including in the  European Year for People with Disabilities in 2003. Norway is also represented in the HLGD. The co-operation with the EU in this field is the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs For further information, please consult the disability website of DG Employment and Social Affairs .

Contact point at the Mission of Norway: [email protected]

Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Social Affairs: [email protected]

Social exclusion
Following the introduction under Article 137 of the Amsterdam Treaty of the fight against social exclusion, the European Council of Lisbon in 2000 recognised that the extent of poverty and social exclusion within the EU was unacceptable. Building a more inclusive European Union was thus considered to be an essential element in achieving the Union’s ten-year strategic goal of sustained economic growth, more and better jobs and greater social cohesion (the Lisbon Process). The Lisbon Council also agreed to adopt the Open Method of Co-ordination in the field of social exclusion in order to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010. An Action Programme to Combat Social Exclusion (2002-2006) parallels this approach. The programme is meant to support co-operation that enables the Community and the Member States to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of policies to combat social exclusion. The approach is to improve the understanding of social exclusion and poverty with the help of comparable indicators, organise exchanges on policies and develop the capacity of actors to address social exclusion and poverty effectively, and promote innovative approaches. Norway participates both in this programme and in the Advisory Committee for the programme through the EEA Agreement. Norwegian applicants have the same rights as applicants from EU Member States. The co-operation with the EU in this field is the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. For further information, please consult the social exclusion website of DG Employment and Social Affairs.

Contact point at the Mission of Norway: [email protected]

Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: [email protected]

Anti-discrimination
The Community Action Programme to combat discrimination 2001-2006, which is based on article 13 of the EU treaty, supports activities combating discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The programme seeks (1) to improve the understanding of issues related to discrimination through improved knowledge and through evaluation of the effectiveness of policies and practice, (2) to develop the capacity to prevent and address discrimination effectively, in particular by strengthening organisations’ means of action and through support for the exchange of information and good practice and networking at European level and (3) to promote and disseminate the values and practices underlying the fight against discrimination, including the use of awareness-raising campaigns. In order to achieve these objectives, the Programme employs a strategy based on three strands: Strengthening analysis of the nature and consequences of discrimination in the Community, supporting organisations taking part in combating and preventing discrimination and raising the awareness of the main decision-makers. Norway participates both in this programme and in the Advisory Committee for the programme through the EEA Agreement. Norwegian applicants have the same rights as applicants from EU Member States. The co-operation with the EU in this field is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. For further information, please consult the website of DG Employment and Social Affairs

Contact point at the Mission of Norway: [email protected]  

Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: [email protected]


Alcohol and drug addiction
Combating alcohol and drug related harm is a priority in Norway, as it is in many EU Member States and at a European level. The health aspects are only one side of the problem. The social dimension is also important with consequences such as crime, family problems, social exclusion, problems at the workplace and drink driving. The EU is addressing alcohol related issues in a number of ways, such as through Council Recommendations and Conclusions, conferences and seminars, as well as through the Public Health Programme and the EU Working Group on Alcohol and Health. Norway participates in the Public Health Programme through the EEA Agreement, and Norwegian officials are also participating in the Working Group on Alcohol and Health. Drug-related issues are also addressed through the Public Health Programme. Other EU measures include the newly adopted EU Drugs Strategy (2005-2012) and the activities under the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction in Lisbon (EMCDDA) Norway has, through a bilateral agreement, participated in the work of this Agency since 2001. The co-operation with the EU in these fields is the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. For further information on EU measures in these fields, please consult the website on health determinants at DG Sanco or DG Justice and Home Affairs (http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/fsj/drugs/fsj_drugs_intro_en.htm).

Contact Point at the Mission of Norway: [email protected]

Contact Point at the Norwegian Ministry of Social Affairs: [email protected]


 
 

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Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, Dag Terje AndersenPhoto: Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion.