The Norwegian government's priorities in EU affairs in 2017

- Clear priorities are important to be able to safeguard Norwegian interests and help solve the common challenges facing Europe, says EEA and EU Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.

On January 26, the government adopted its working program for cooperation with the EU in 2017. The program contains the main priorities and key issues in the implementation of the government's EU strategy and shows the government's specific plans to participate in the overall discussions and promote Norwegian views in areas where EU policies are being drawn up this year.

The work program follows up the five main priorities of the Government's EU Strategy 2014-2017: Increased competitiveness and economic growth; improved quality of research and education; an ambitious climate policy; a comprehensive migration policy; and increased safety and security.

Among other things, the government will follow up the EU strategy for a better functioning single market for goods and services, as well as processes related to the development of the digital single market. The government will also continue its dialogue with the EU on the development of an energy union and will collaborate to achieve common climate commitments for 2030.

A coherent asylum and migration policies are also central to the government's work in 2017. Norway will contribute to strengthening our common external borders and further develop the Schengen cooperation, and cooperate closely with the EU to counter the threat of terrorism and transnational organized crime.

- Norway share much of the same challenges facing Europe. Therefore, we must work together to solve them. It is in our national interest and it helps to ease the transition in the Norwegian economy, says Bakke-Jensen.

Questions about the incorporation of adopted EU legislation in the EEA Agreement and implementation of such legislation in Norwegian law is discussed in a separate annex. It includes a department-based overview of key EU and EEA matters as of January 2017. In total, these two documents form the basis for our work on EU affairs in the current year.

Need to defend and maintain EEA

EEA is the most important agreements Norway has with the EU. The agreement gives Norwegian businesses and citizens access to the EU single market and gives us equal rights, security and predictability.

- But we cannot take the EEA Agreement for granted - it must constantly be explained, understood and justified. We must defend the EEA Agreement, and through targeted and systematic efforts ensure the continued functioning of the EEA cooperation, says EEA and EU Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.

 European policy is a national teamwork. The government will continue an open dialogue and an inclusive European policy in 2017.

- We hope that the work program can be a tool for anyone who is concerned about developments in Europe and how we can best contribute, while protecting Norway's interests, says Bakke-Jensen.

Written and originally published by: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / The Norwegian Government