Norway is among the EU's closest partners. EU-Norway cooperation is based on shared fundamental values and underpinned by our common heritage and history, as well as strong cultural and geographical ties.  Norway has a close relationship with the EU through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement and several other bilateral agreements. The EU and Norway also enjoy very close and active cooperation on foreign and security policy issues.

Political relations

Norway is closely linked with the EU through membership in the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), which brings together all the 27 EU Member States and three of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein in a Single Market. Much of the cooperation and political dialogue between the EU and Norway take place in special EEA institutions, including the EEA Council, Joint Committee, Parliamentary Committee, and Consultative Committee. Norway is furthermore a member of the Schengen Area, which gives its citizens the right to travel passport-free within the Schengen Area, and a signatory of the Dublin Regulation on asylum policy.

The EU and Norway are very much aligned on the main foreign policy issues. Norway shares the EU’s support for the multilateral system and often aligns itself with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) declarations and restrictive measures. The EU and Norway have a dialogue on foreign policy at the senior official level.

Norway is a Member of the Arctic Council. It supports the EU in obtaining formal observer status in the Arctic Council. The EU and Norway also work together in the framework of the Northern Dimension and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

Economic relations

Norway’s economic and trade relations with the EU are mainly governed by the EEA Agreement, which entered into force in 1994.

The EEA Agreement provides for the inclusion of all EU legislation linked to the Single Market. This covers the four freedoms, i.e. the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital, as well as competition and state aid rules, but also the following horizontal policies: consumer protection, company law, energy, environment, social policy and statistics. The EEA Agreement guarantees equal rights and obligations within the Single Market for citizens and economic operators in the EEA. In addition, the EEA Agreement provides for cooperation in several flanking policies such as research and technological development, education, training and youth, employment, tourism, culture, public health, civil protection, enterprise, entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises. Like all members of the Single Market, Norway contributes financially towards social and economic cohesion in Europe.

The EEA Agreement does not cover the following EU policies: common agriculture and fisheries policies (although the EEA Agreement contains provisions on trade in agricultural and fish products); customs union; common trade policy; common foreign and security policy; justice and home affairs (the three EEA EFTA States are however part of the Schengen area); direct and indirect taxation; economic and monetary union.

The EEA is Norway’s largest export and import market. Norway is the EU's 8th most important import partner for trade in goods. The EU remains the most important import and export partner for Norway, capturing around 75 percent of Norwegian trade.

EU trade in goods with Norway

  • The EU's exports to Norway in 2019: 40.5 billion euros.
  • The EU's imports from Norway in 2019: 43.2 billion euros.

EU trade in services with Norway

  • The EU's exports to Norway in 2019: 17 billion euros.
  • The EU's imports from Norway in 2019: 13.3 billion euros.

As the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy are not part of the EEA Agreement, free movement of goods within the framework of the Agreement does not apply to all products. Nevertheless, Article 19 of the EEA Agreement provides a legal basis for the parties to agree on rules governing the progressive liberalisation of agricultural trade. The most recent EU-Norway bilateral trade agreement negotiated on the basis of Article 19 of the EEA Agreement entered into force in October 2018. Norway is the EU's largest supplier of fish, exporting Norwegian seafood worth 6.9 billion euros to the EU in 2020.

Security and defence policy

Norway is a long-standing partner of the EU in Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations, in which it regularly participates and offers contributions.

Norway has a Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) and a Permanent Security of Information Agreement with the EU, as well as a cooperation agreement with the European Defence Agency (EDA). Norway also contributes equipment and personnel to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. 

EU-Norway CSDP High-Level consultations take place regularly. In 2019, it was agreed to establish the EU-Norway Structured Security and Defence Dialogue, and to hold an Annual Security and Defence Symposium in Oslo, further strengthening security cooperation.

As one of the first third countries, Norway has been invited to participate in the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the area of security and defence. Norway will take part in the Military Mobility project, a strategic platform to enable the swift and seamless movement of military personnel and assets throughout and beyond the EU, whether by rail, road, air or sea. This is important to our common security and defence, our preparedness and resilience, as well as to EU CSDP missions and operations.

Sustainable development and green economy

Norway and the EU share similar views on sustainable development, as well as the need to promote the green economy, including by ensuring a green recovery from the crisis engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the EEA Agreement, relevant EU environment and climate law apply in Norway. Norway (and Iceland) participate in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) since 2008. In 2019, the European Union, Iceland and Norway agreed to extend their cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The EU climate laws to reduce emissions from sectors outside the EU ETS, namely agriculture, transport, waste management and buildings (Effort Sharing regulation for 2021-2030); and to enhance benefits of carbon removals from land use and forestry (LULUCF regulation for 2021-2030) have been incorporated into the EEA Agreement.

Science, technology and digitalisation

Norway participates in a large number of EU programmes of which the largest are research and development programmes and mobility programmes, such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. Norway participates on an equal footing with EU countries in these framework programs. Association of Norway to the EU's research and innovation framework programs takes place through an amendment to Protocol 31 of the EEA agreement. Norway has been very successful in competing in EU programmes.  

Through the EEA Agreement, Norway also participates in the EU’s internal market for telecommunication and postal services. Various initiatives on the Digital Agenda with EEA relevance, apply in Norway. Norway also takes part in EU agencies in the field of ICT, such as the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).

Cultural and public diplomacy

Norway and the EU are involved in several cultural public diplomacy activities, in addition to Norway participating in Creative Europe. Norway also supports European cultural works through the EEA Grants.

The Delegation also congratulates the Norwegian city of Bodø as European Capital of Culture in 2024


During the Covid-19-pandemic, the EU and Norway cooperated closely. The cooperation covered a wide range of issues as for example vaccine purchase, deployment of European Medical Teams to support other countries (inter alia through COVAX (COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator), and bringing stranded citizens home.