Democracy and Welfare Society

Norway’s membership in international organisations

Norway is a member of several international organisations that influence Norwegian politics, including the UN, NATO and EEA.

The United Nations (UN)

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The UN is an international organisation established on 24 October 1945. The UN works to preserve international peace and security and serves as a forum for dialogue between different countries in the world. The UN currently has 193 member countries.

The UN also plays a role in international law, economic development and human rights. The UN plays an important role as a peacekeeping organisation. Member countries finance the UN through financial contributions. The UN does not have any real legal power. Decisions reached in the UN are therefore not legally binding for member countries.

NATO

NATO-landene (Kilde: Wikimedia Commons)The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a defence organisation with 29 member countries in Europe and North America. NATO was established in 1949. Member countries are obligated to mutually support each other and fight if one or more countries are invaded by one or more other countries.

EEA

A referendum has been held in Norway twice (1972 and 1994) to decide whether or not to join the EU (European Union). Both times, the majority of the population voted against Norway entering the EU. Even though Norway is not a member of the EU, we are still part of a binding European agreement. This agreement is called the EEA (European Economic Area). The EEA agreement regulates trade and other economic relationships between EEA countries. This includes compliance with EU rules that apply to the free flow of goods, services, labour and capital.

EU- og EØS-området (Kilde: Wikicommons)Countries marked in blue are members of the EU. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (marked in green) and the EU countries are all part of the EEA agreement.

Schengen agreement

The Schengen agreement is treaty that replaces border controls between member countries with external border controls. In other words, the Schengen countries are considered one large area that cannot be entered into without a valid passport or visa. Once a person has entered the Schengen area, however, he or she can travel freely around the different member countries without passing through normal passport controls. The agreement was signed in Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985. There are currently 26 European countries in the Schengen region.

Countries that have signed the Schengen agreement: Schengen-området (Kilde: Wikicommons)