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Norway: country overview

03 September 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 03 March 2014

Norway considered joining the European Community in 1972 and the EU in 1994., Norway joined the EEA in 1994. The EEA Agreement covers most aspects of its relations with the EU including: the EU single market – all relevant laws, except those dealing with agriculture and fisheries, apply to Norway; EU Agencies and programmes – Norway participates in a number of them, albeit with no voting rights; social & economic cohesion in the EU/EEA – Norway contributes financially; regular political dialogue on foreign policy issues at ministerial and expert level.



Member of Schengen area: 

Political system: Monarchy

Capital city: Oslo

Total area:  323 802 km²

Population: 4.7 million

Currency: Norwegian krone


Economy overview

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous mixed economy, with a vibrant private sector, a large state sector, and an extensive social safety net. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through extensive regulation and large-scale state-majority-owned enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for the largest portion of export revenue and about 20% of government revenue. Norway is the world's third-largest natural gas exporter; and seventh largest oil exporter, making one of its largest offshore oil finds in 2011. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget. In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves state revenue from the petroleum sector in the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, valued at over $822 billion in January 2014 and uses the fund's return to help finance public expenses. After solid GDP growth in 2004-07, the economy slowed in 2008, and contracted in 2009, before returning to positive growth in 2010-13. Nevertheless, the government budget remains in surplus.

Useful links

Delegation of the EU to Norway

Norwegian Government

Tourist information


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