“We need more, not less cooperation with the EU on the common challenges facing Europe”, said Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Elisabeth Aspaker, pointing out the Single Market strategy, migration, climate and energy among the main priorities in the Government´s Eurpean work programme for 2016.
The Government´s EU strategy sets out the main lines of Norway´s European policy, which to a large extent responds to the challenges Europe is now facing; competetiveness and growth, researhc and education, climate and energy, justice and migration, and foreign and security policy.
The work programme for 2016 builds on efforts from previous years, but due to the current flow of migrants into Europe, this year´s programme has an extra focus on justice and home affairs.
“As a Schengen member state, Norway will seek to ensure that all Schengen countries take on their shared responsibility for ensuring effective and sound control of the external borders”, said Minister Aspaker.
This includes strengthened cooperation with the EU on the rapid return of illegal residents, and to give priority to European police cooperation to combat human smuggling.
The Government will maintain a close dialogue with the EU institutions and member states on the development of the Energy Union. It is in Norway´s interests that the energy markets function well and that gas and electricity infrastructure is improved.
“Natural gas has an important role to play in Europe´s energy secutiry, it reduces emissions provided that it is used to replace coal, and it can provide balancing power where the share of intermittent renewable energy is increasing”, said Minister Aspaker.
The Government will continue to communicate Norway´s views on the Single Market Strategy at an early stage. Also, the Government will follow up relevant parts of the Circular Economy Package and its action plan.
The Commission will follow up the Digital Single Market Strategy by concrete proposals in 2016. The Government wishes to contribute to this work. The aim is to boost confidence in cross-border e-commerce, promote universal design of ICT solutions and modernise copyright rules.
The Government´s aim to make everyday life easier for Norwegian citizens and companies is closely linked to efforts to reduce regulatory burdens and simplify rules at European level.
“We will make sure that our work relating to EU legislation is in line with the Commission´s new methods and procedures, and that we make use of the opportunities available to provide input when new proposals are being drafted”, said Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Elisabeth Aspaker.
Source: government.no / Norway Today