Prime Minister Erna Solberg says that the EU has asked for "considerable funds" from Norway during the negotiations for the European Economic Area (EEA). The past five years the three countries in the European Trade Organization, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, have contributed NOK 14 billion to the EU. The money is supposed to be used to support projects in the poorest EU-countries.
Norway pays 97 percent of this share.
There is no formal fee for the European Economic Area agreement, which secures Norway's access to EU's market, but it is perceived this way. Negotiations on how much Norway, Iceland and Switzerland should pay started in January, but not much progress has been made.
"These processes move slowly," says Erna Solberg, who is currently in Hague at the Nuclear Security Summit. She does not want to say how much funding the EU has asked for, other than that the amount is "considerably high." She has also told Aftenposten that the amount is higher than before.
"This is a starting point, then we'll work from there. There has been no significant movement in these negotiations so far," says Solberg. However, the Prime Minister explains that the amount that we have paid during the past years is Norway maximum level.
Neither Norway nor the EU want to say how much they have asked for and offered to pay. Aftenposten reports that one of the reasons why the EU wants Norway to contribute more money is because the financial situation in several EU-countries has become even worse since the financial crisis.