Saturday

28th May 2022

EU pushes Norway for more cash to cover Romania and Bulgaria

  • Norway sells a lot of fish to the EU (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Union has asked Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to pay more money if they want to do business in the bloc's two new member states, Bulgaria and Romania, with oil-rich Norway to foot most of the bill.

The three non-EU members, part of the European Economic Area (EEA), pay annual contributions to the EU in return for access to the bloc's internal market allowing Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to sell their goods and services across the union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We have given a generous offer which should be the basis for an agreement now," said Norway's ambassador to the EU and the chief negotiator on the issue, Oda Helen Sletnes, according to the NTB news agency.

But this is not enough for the European Commission. "We have made progress, but we are not there yet," the EU's negotiator Matthias Brinkmann said.

"We still don't see an equal treatment between Romania and Bulgaria and the ten countries which became members in 2004," he pointed out.

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are currently negotiating with Brussels their access to the lucrative EU market, which was enlarged when Bulgaria and Romania joined the bloc on 1 January 2007.

Brussels wants Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to contribute as much proportionately to the two new member states as they did when the ten new member states joined in 2004, so as to not discriminate against them.

Back then, Norway's annual contribution alone increased ten-fold to €205.8 million.

Brussels had originally asked for an annual increase of €71 million from 1 January 2007 to 30 April 2009, when the whole EEA agreement will be renegotiated.

The EU demand is now down to €65 million but the three EEA members only offered €55 million - of which Norway will pay €53 million - when the parties involved met on Friday (16 February).

Despite the lack of agreement, the negotiations will now continue at expert level to deal with technical questions.

Norway fears it will come under pressure to meet the EU demands when the EEA committee meets on 16 March if the €10 million discrepancy is not solved before then.

Norway to pay more for EU market access

Non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will have to pay at least €70 million extra a year for access to the bloc's single market if Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union next year.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us