Democracy lost: the EEA Agreement and Norway’s democratic deficit

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Series Details No.21, 2008
Publication Date 21/10/2008
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The purpose of the EEA Agreement is to integrate the remaining EFTA countries (except Switzerland) into the EU’s internal market. Norway was required to incorporate the material legal rules that were in force at the time when the EEA Agreement was ratified, and remains committed to incorporating all future EU law that is of relevance to the Agreement. The purpose is to maximize the freedom of movement of persons, capital, goods and services in all of the European Economic Area, as well as to strengthen and spread the cooperation to neighboring policy areas. To a large extent, this has made Norway a de facto EU member. The EU is based on a status contract intended to change the status of the states, something which spills over to the EEA Agreement. The latter is not an ordinary trade agreement between equal parties, but rather a crofter contract. But out of consideration for the Realpolitische consequences, Norway must relate to the EU as best it can. Successive Norwegian governments have systematically aspired to be part of as much as possible of the EU’s activities. The democratic deficit for Norway will however increase as the cooperation within the EU expands and the institutions are reformed.

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