Q & A

Norway and the EU – Questions and Answers

EU Institutions
Mission of Norway to the EU




Norway’s EU Policy and the EEA Agreement
  1. Is Norway member of the European Union?

    No. Norway has applied for membership of the European Community (EC) three times and completed accession negotiations twice. However, a majority of Norwegian voters rejected membership of the EC both in 1972 and in 1994.

  2. Is Norway part of the EU Internal Market

    Yes, the Agreement on the European Economic Area (the EEA Agreement) extends the Internal Market with its so-called four freedoms (free movement of goods, capital, services and persons) to three EFTA countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The 10 accession countries will also become members of the Internal Market when they join the EU in 2004.

  3. Does Norway take part in the decision-making process in connection with new EU legislation for the Internal Market?

    No. Norway is neither represented in the European Commission, nor in the Council of the European Union nor in the European Parliament. However, EFTA EEA experts are consulted on the same basis as EU experts in the preparatory phase of legislation. More than 300 Norwegian experts participate in expert groups under the Commission. In addition, through the Joint Committee structure (peker til EØS-siden om Scope and Institutions), the EEA EFTA States are consulted on proposals for legislation once they have been presented to the Council of the European Union.

  4. Does Norway support the enlargement of the EU?

    Absolutely. Enlargement will be good for Norway, as it will be for the rest of Europe. It is a historic opportunity to ensure peace and stability on the continent. The new member countries will also be part of the EEA co-operation.

  5. Will Norway contribute to the enlargement of the EU?

    Yes. In the decade that has passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Norway has allocated over NOK 3 billion (approximately €410 million) to Central and Eastern Europe in the form of assistance and support.

    On 11 November 2003 the EEA Enlargement Agreement was signed. As part of this agreement, Norway will contribute almost € 230 million to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the EEA area every year until 1 May 2009. Almost half of this amount will benefit Poland, by far the biggest of the 10 acceding countries. Norway will from 2004 onwards be one of the biggest net contributors of the 28 countries in the enlarged EEA. Two separate instruments, one Norwegian instrument and one joint EEA/EFTA instrument cover the new financial contributions. The money will be allocated to areas such as environment, resource management, education, health and childcare, and the implementation of Schengen and internal market acquis.

  6. When will the accession countries become members of the EEA?

    The aim of both the EU and the three EFTA EEA countries is a parallel enlargement of the EU and the EEA in May 2004.

  7. Can Norway adopt the Euro as currency?

    Membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is only open for EU members. Norway could adopt the euro unilaterally, but it would not have any influence on the monetary policy of the EU. However, this is not considered a viable option.

  8. Is tax policy part of the EEA Agreement?

    No, tax policy is not within the scope of the EEA Agreement. However, state aid, e.g. tax exemptions, that distorts or threatens to distort competition and affects trade between the EEA countries is incompatible with the EEA Agreement (Article 61 of the EEA Agreement).

  9. Is competition policy part of the EEA Agreement?

    Yes, one of the main pillars of the EEA Agreement is the establishment of a system that ensures equal conditions of competition for goods and services covered by the agreement throughout the European Economic Area (Article 1 EEA).

  10. Is Norway part of the EU Customs Union?

    No. The EEA is a free trade agreement, not a customs union. Hence, trade policy towards third countries remains outside the scope of the EEA. However, in the on-going Doha Development Round it is important for Norway to stay in close contact with its main trading partners, the most important of which is the EU.

  11. Can EU students obtain financial support for studies in Norway?

    Yes. Norway is part of Socrates II, which includes the ERASMUS programme. The Erasmus programme allows students in higher education (universities or “extra-university” institutions) to study for a period (from 3 to 12 months) in another participating country within the framework of agreed arrangements between universities. They generally receive a grant to help offset the “mobility costs” of studying in another country, such as travel, language preparation and differences in the cost of living. Their award depends on several elements, which vary from country to country.

    Thirty countries participate in the ERASMUS programme: the 15 Member States of the European Union; the three EFTA EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and twelve associated countries: Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus. (Read more on the home page of the Centre for International University Co-operation (SIU), which administers the programme in Norway.

  12. Can students from the accession and candidate countries obtain a scholarship for studies in Norway?

    Yes, for the 2003-2004 academic year Norway offers individual grants (modelled on the Erasmus programme) to students from the 12 EU accession and candidate countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia and Slovenia). University faculty who wish to undertake teaching assignments of short duration may also apply for financial support under this project (read more on the SIU’s home page)

  13. Is Norway part of the EU’s agricultural policy?

    No, Norway is not part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) However, veterenary and phytosanitary measures and custom duties for processed agricultural products (Protocol 3) are part of the EEA co-operation. The EEA Agreement also contains a provision (Article 19) concerning trade in agricultural products between the EU and Norway. According to the provision, Norway and the EU should “continue their efforts with a view to achieving progressive liberalisation of agricultural trade” and carry out reviews of trade in agricultural products every second year. Negotiations on tariff reductions and increases in quotas for some basic agricultural products between Norway and the EU have taken place in 2002. A draft agreement has been finalised in December 2002, and is scheduled to enter into force as from 1 July 2003.

  14. Is Norway part of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) 

    No. The EEA Agreement does not cover the management of Norwegian fisheries resources. The co-operation on resource management between Norway and the EU is based on bilateral agreements. However, trade in fish and fish products is regulated by Protocol 9 to the EEA Agreement.

  15. Is energy part of the EEA Agreement?

    Norway is a part of the internal energy market through the EEA Agreement and co-operates with the EU on several energy policy issues. However, resource management, e.g. management of Norwegian oil and gas resources, is solely the competence of the Norwegian Government.

  16. Does Norway co-operate with the EU in the area of the environment?

    The environment is one of the so-called flanking and horizontal policies of the EEA Agreement. Hence, Norway adopts most of the EC environmental policies and rules through the EEA. So far more than 250 environmental acquis have been incorporated into the EEA Agreement. In addition Norway has regular consultations with the EU on international environmental issues.

  17. Are there restrictions on capital movements between Norway and the EU countries?

    No. The EEA Agreement extends the EU Internal Market with its free movement of capital, to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

  18. Can EU citizens obtain a work permit in Norway? And Can Norwegians apply for a job in the EU?

    Yes to both questions. The EEA Agreement extends the EU Internal Market, with its free movement of labour, to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

  19. Does Norway participate in the EU’s employment policy?

    The European Employment Strategy is not part of the EEA Agreement. However, the Norwegian Government intends to exchange ideas and practices on employment policies with the EU. The social partners in Norway take part in consultations on the EU’s employment policy through their European umbrella organisations.

  20. Are Norway and the EU co-operating to improve the food safety throughout the EEA?

    Yes. The EU has established a significant body of legislation relating to food safety, which has been implemented by Norway and the other EFTA EEA States.

  21. Does Norway co-operate with the EU on the development of an Information Society?

    The EEA Agreement does not provide for participation in the policymaking within the frame of the Information Society. However, Norway implements EU directives regarding the framework for electronic signatures and certain legal aspects of electronic commerce.

  22. Does Norway co-operate with the EU in the area of research?

    Yes. Under the EEA Agreement, Norway takes part in all EU research programmes and activities.

  23. Do EU citizens need a passport when they travel to Norway? 

    Norway is part of the Schengen co-operation. Since March 2001, all passport control between Norway, Iceland and the fourteen Schengen countries has been abolished. Nonetheless, it is strongly recommended that those travelling within the Schengen bring their passport with them.

  24. Is Norway part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy?

    No. However, Norway has regular political dialogues with the EU on various foreign policy issues and is regularly invited to align itself with EU foreign policy statements.

  25. Is Norway part of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy?

    No. However, the EU in setting up military and civilian capabilities for crisis management has invited Norway to contribute military capabilities to the EU Rapid Reaction force. A substantial contribution (3500 troops supplemented by air and maritime elements) has been offered to the EU force by Norway. Norway has also been invited to participate in the first-ever EU civilian crisis management operation in Bosnia, the EU Police Mission (EUPM). From the outset on 1 January 2003, Norway is participating with eight members in the EUPM.

  26. Is Norway part of the Lisbon Strategy?

    The aim of the Lisbon Strategy is to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world by 2010. Norway is not part of this process. However, many elements of the Lisbon Strategy affect the EFTA EEA countries through the EEA co-operation. Hence, it is a priority for Norway to influence relevant parts of the process.

  27. How can I find out more about Norwegian foreign policy in general?

    We suggest that you study the home page of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, there are several research institutes in Norway that have specialised in Foreign Policy. We suggest for example that you study the home page of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the ARENA programme (Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation-State) at the University of Oslo or Europaprogrammet.


    EU Institutions
  28. I have a question regarding a policy initiative of the European Commission. Where can I find information to the responsible officer in the Commission?

    We suggest you consult the Electronic Directory of the European Institutions

  29. Where can I find press releases from the Council?

    Press releases are posted continuously on the news page of the Council (http://ue.eu.int/en/summ.htm). You can also consult the general news service of the EU.

  30. Who is responsible for relations with Norway in the European Parliament?

    All the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) participate in delegations to international organisations or non-member countries. The Parliament has a delegation responsible for relations with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway and it has appointed members to the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee.

  31. Who is responsible for relations with Norway in the European Commission?

    DG External Relations (RELEX) is responsible for relations with Norway. RELEX also has responsibility for administering the EEA Agreement. Chris Patten is the Commissioner in charge of external relations.

  32. How can I find an EU directive or regulation?

    You can consult Eur-Lex – the portal to European Union law. If you are interested in a directive that is currently under preparation in the EU, you should consult PreLex, which monitors the decision-making process between EU institutions.

  33. Who has the EU presidency at the moment?

    The Member States take six-month turns presiding over the Council in accordance with a pre-established rota (unless a new Council decision is taken). Ireland will preside over the European Council for the first half of 2003.

  34. Who is next in line?

    For the second half of 2004, the Netherlands, followed by Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

  35. Who has the chairmanship of the EEA Joint Committee?

    The chairmanship alternates between the European Commission and the EEA EFTA countries. The Commission has the chairmanship for the first six months of the year, while one of the EEA EFTA countries has the chairmanship for the second half.


    Mission of Norway to the EU
  36. How many people work at the Mission?

    Since June 2001 the Embassy of Norway to Belgium (7 persons) and the Mission (44 persons) have been located in the same building. Together, they are one of Norway’s biggest foreign missions.

  37. What are the main tasks of the Mission? What are the main tasks of the Embassy?

    The Mission of Norway to the EU represents the Government of Norway in relation to the EU. We observe, assess, negotiate and represent Norwegian positions in relation to the EU. The Embassy of Norway to Belgium represents the Government of Norway in relation to the Belgian authorities. It promotes Norwegian exports and culture in Belgium, and assists Norwegian citizens in Belgium with various matters.

  38. Who does what at the Mission? And how can I get in touch with them?

    A list over people working here as well as their e-mail address and direct number can be found on our website under Mission / Staff.

  39. Does the Mission have an Internship (stagiaires) program?

Yes. The first intern started in January 2003. If you would like to apply for the programme, please contact Ms Rønneberg.







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