Current government will not apply for Norwegian membership in the EU, Foreign Affairs Ministry tells Norway Today

Jonas Gahr StørePhoto: Javad Parsa / NTB

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine – which plunged Europe into war – key figures in both Norway’s Conservative Party (H) and Labor Party (AP) have spoken about the need for a new debate on Norway’s role with the EU. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the current government will follow its political platform – and not apply for EU membership.

Despite the growing debate on EU membership in Norway, the Støre government isn’t planning on launching an EU membership application.

In an email to Norway Today, State Secretary Eivind Vad Petersson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that the government would not stray from its political platform.

“The government’s political platform states that Europe policy will be based on the EEA agreement and that this government will not apply for Norwegian membership in the EU.

“Through the EEA agreement and other agreements with the EU, we aim to continue our active participation in the Single Market and our close cooperation with the EU, in areas such as foreign and security policy, climate and energy,” Petersson wrote.

EEA funds

He also commented on the EU’s recent decision to initiate a process against Hungary that could lead to cuts in fund transfers.

“Norway remains concerned about the conditions for the rule of law and democracy in Hungary. We support the EU’s reaction towards Hungary in this area.”

Looking ahead at the negotiations for EEA funds in the period up to 2027, Petersson noted that Norway would stand by key fundamental values – such as the rule of law – throughout the process.

“The negotiations for a new period of EEA grants have yet to begin, and we will not comment on the substance of these negotiations before they have started.

“However, fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, and human rights will remain a key consideration in the management of these grants,” he pointed out.

Hungary and the EU

On May 3, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU can cut transfers to member states that do not comply with democratic principles. In April, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU was launching a formal lawsuit against Hungary for failing to uphold the rule of law.

Shortly afterward, a hitherto unused mechanism was triggered that could ultimately lead to cuts in payments to Hungary from the EU budget.
Hungary receives major economic transfers from the EU.

Norway, for its part, contributes tens of billions of kroner in EEA funds that are aimed at reducing economic inequality in Europe.

Robin-Ivan Capar is a contributor and editor at Norway Today.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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