Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council, receives Jens STOLTENBERG, Prime Minister of Norway:
Extracts from the joint press statements
Lieu: Council , Justus Lipsius building, Brussels
End production: 22/02/2013 First transmission: 22/02/2013
Norway is one of very few western European countries not to be a member of the European Union. Norway has held a referendum on the issue of EU membership twice, first in 1972 and then again in 1994. On both occasions, a rather narrow majority of the Norwegian population rejected membership (in 1994, 52% were against and 48% were in favour).
As a consequence, Norway is not a Member State of the EU, and the relationship with the Union is therefore based on other forms and means of close contact and co-operation. This co-operation enables Norway to maintain a very high level of economic integration, and political co-operation, with the EU and its Member States.
The EEA-Agreement is by far the single most important agreement regulating the relationship between Norway (and the two other EEA EFTA States Iceland and Liechtenstein) and the European Union. The purpose of the agreement is to enlarge the EUs internal market to also comprise the EEA EFTA States, and it does so by creating a common ”European Economic Area”.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council (In English) saying that: Norway is closely integrated into the EU’s internal market and other policies through the European Economic Area. It is also one of the EU's most important trade partner.
We had a fruitful discussion about issues where our cooperation could be further enhanced, such as the European Economic Area backlog or certain recent measure in agricultural trade.
||SOUNDBITE by Herman Van Rompuy (In English) saying that: Norway is also a close partner as regards foreign policy. Our respective policies are based on the same values and we share similar concerns. In this context I expressed the European Union's support for successful Arctic co-operation in order to meet the challenges confronting the region, such as sustainable development, environmental stability and strategic security.
Overall, we note with satisfaction that over the last two years our relations with Norway have continued to be marked by a high level of cooperation and stability.
||SOUNDBITE by Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway (In English) saying that: We discussed different topics and also the question of economic challenges we are all facing. We have seen a lot of progress in Europe; we have seen and I commented the decisions and the efforts by the European Union to meet the financial crisis and to increase growth and we see many positive signs and we welcome it very much also in Norway.
||SOUNDBITE by Jens Stoltenberg (In English) saying that: We also exchanged some views and addressed the question of energy. Norway is a major energy supplier to Europe and we are going to continue to be a reliable long term supplier of energy both when it comes to natural gas, we supply about 20% of total gas consumption in Europe but we also see the potential in developing power exchange between Norway and Europe.
||Speakers leaving the press point