Norway cooperates closely with the EU and the EU member states. We share a common set of values, and we share many of the same challenges. It is vital that we work together to solve these challenges. We cooperate with the EU because it is in our own national interest to do so, and because it will make it easier to restructure the Norwegian economy. The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement is the most important agreement we have with our European partners. It gives Norwegian companies and citizens access to the EU’s internal market and guarantees equal rights and conditions of competition, and greater security and predictability.
A whole generation has grown up with the opportunity to study, work and settle anywhere in the EEA, while enjoying the same rights to social security benefits and healthcare. Cooperation with our European partnerso n research and innovation also helps to promote growth and employment. However, we should not taket he EEA Agreement for granted. More than ever before, it needs to be explained, understood, and defended.
We must safeguard the EEA Agreement, and work systematically to ensure that the EEA cooperation continues to function well. This is in the interests of both Norway and the EU. The Norwegian Government’s strategy for cooperation with the EU 2014
-2017 sets out the main lines of Norway’s European policy. It identifies five priority areas, where the Government will make a particular effort to promote Norwegian interests when European policy and legislation are being developed. The five priorities are: increased competitiveness and growth, higher quality research and education, an ambitious climate and energy policy, a comprehensive approach to migration, and enhancing security. This work programme for cooperation with the EU sets out the Government’s main priorities and the most important issues in the strategy that are to be followed up in 2017. ’ pillar of our Presidency programme will promote competitiveness during the transition to a green, lowcarbon economy. Under the ‘Nordic region in Europe’ pillar, the ambition is to further develop Nordic cooperation on European policy in strategically important areas such as climate and the environment, energy, and digitisation. These two pillars highlight the close links between the development of policy and legislation in the EU and the EEA and the ongoing efforts to remove barriers to growth in the Nordic region. in our cooperation with the EU.
This will include taking part in constructive negotiations and discussions with the EU and our EEA EFTA partners Iceland and Liechtenstein on the incorporation of new legislation into the EEA Agreement. Reducing the backlog of legal acts adopted by the EU but not yet incorporated into the Agreement is still a top priority. At the same time, the Government will seek to ensure that the legislation does not create unnecessary burdens, and that new rules are only introduced where necessary.
We will help to strengthen our common external border and to further develop the Schengen cooperation, and we will work closely with the EU to address the threats posed by terrorism and transnational organised crime. Changes in the security landscape in and around Europe make our cooperation with the EU in the field of foreign and security policy increasingly important.
In 2017, Norway holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The ‘Nordic region in transition
Our European policy is a collective national effort. The Government will continue to promote an open dialogue and an inclusive policy. We hope that the work programme for 2017 will be a useful tool for all those who are interested in developments in Europe and in how we can best contribute, while at the same time safeguarding Norway’s interests
Minister of EEA and EU Affairs
"Norway in Europe" the government's work programme for cooperation with the EU 2017