The strategy defines the priorities for the Norwegian European Policy from 2018 to 2021, and includes an ambitious vision for:
- a secure Europe
- a free Europe
- a Europe that is economically strong
- a Europe where the individual countries take joint responsibility for addressing shared challenges.
“Europe is our continent – how do we want our part of the world to be? And which responsibilities do we have for the development in Europe?”, Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide asked during the event.
Among the specific tools to achieve the goals of the European strategy, are the EEA and Norway Grants. Through these grants Norway is contributing 2,8 billion Euro to projects in the least economically developed EU member states over a period of seven years. In cooperation with the beneficiary countries, funds are allocated to projects that address common challenges, for instance in regards to civil society, good governance, innovation and poverty reduction.
The strategy also states Norway’s commitment to increased cooperation with the EU regarding work-related crime, and the security and defence policy.
“We believe it is in Norway’s interests to work closely with the EU and its member states to strengthen European security and defence, further develop our cooperation in the area of justice and home affairs, and promote inclusive cooperation in Europe”, the Government states in the strategy.
The EEA Agreement remains vital
The strategy emphasize the EEA Agreement as a vital part of Norway’s future relationship with the EU.
“Under the EEA Agreement, Norwegian citizens have opportunities they could not have dreamed of in the past. Many Norwegians make use of their rights under the Agreement to cross borders, live, work, invest, and study in other EEA countries. Younger generations take these opportunities for granted.", the Foreign Minister writes in the strategy.
"The Government sees it as one of its main tasks to increase awareness of the importance of the EEA Agreement for safeguarding fundamental Norwegian interests"