Over these years, we have been working together as an extended family building a better Europe for all our 520 million citizens.
The EEA Agreement rests on the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. It also includes cooperation in other areas, like research, technological development, environment and culture. This means that our citizens are free to move and travel, to do business and invest with ease, to receive an education, conduct cutting-edge research abroad, while enjoying the safest consumer protections, the highest standards at work and the cleanest environment.
The EEA agreement goes beyond traditional free trade agreements. It is a long-term partnership where everyone contributes, and everyone benefits. It is the cornerstone of relations between Norway and the EU, which since 2013 also includes Croatia.
To mark the 25 years anniversary, the Norwegian Embassy in Zagreb hosted a seminar at Europe House in Zagreb on 2 December.
The seminar included a short lecture on the EEA Agreement. The decision to host such a lecture came after we were informed of scenarios where Norwegian citizens had been treated unequal to EU citizens by, among others, public institutions in Croatia.
We are of course aware that this has nothing to do with bad intensions, it is merely a result of the general lack of knowledge on the EEA in Europe. Thus, we figured we could use the 25 year anniversary conference as a platform to host a crash-course for public sector servants.
The lecturer, Mr Jørn Gloslie, entertained the crowd with passion. The result: 50 or so public employees eagerly asking questions and enquiring about Norway, the EEA and our ties to the EU.
Before leaving their newly acquired knowledge was put to test with a kahoot-quiz. With prizes for the top three, competition was tough. To our great satisfaction the participants brought their a-game and performed outstandingly.
In attendance was the Norwegian Ambassador to Croatia, Mr. Haakon Blankenborg, the director of the EEA division of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jørn Gloslie, EU Ambassador to Croatia, Mr Ognian Zlatev, and the Head of the Directorate for European Affairs in the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Ines Troha.