Norway’s EEA membership includes
a range of financial contributions. Included within these are the “Norway Grants”,
paid by Norway as a form of aid for the economic rehabilitation of
post-Communist countries, these grants amounted to around €804 million in the
period 2009 -2014.This money is not paid to the EU.
Norway also provides 95% of the funding to the EEA Grants,
which alongside the Norway Grants brings the total to €1.8 billion from
2009-2014. The total spend for EU programmes with EFTA/EEA participation over
the 2007-2013 period amounted to €70 billion, with the contribution of EFTA
amounting to €1.7 billion, approximately €250 million a year, of which Norway
accounted for 95.77% of the cost.
As of 2014 Norway
participates in twelve EU programmes, including
Horizon 2020 Erasmus+ and the Copernicus Programme. It also takes part in 26 EU
agencies. These include the Education,
Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), the European Agency for the
Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (FRONTEX), the
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the European Chemicals
Agency (ECHA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the Executive Agency for
Health and Consumers (EAHC), the Research Executive Agency (REA) and the
European Police College (CEPOL).
As to the budget for these activities, over the 2007-2013 multi-annual period,
total EU spending was around €70 billion, of which the estimated EFTA contribution
was in the order of €1.7 billion – averaging approximately €250 million a year.
Norway carried 95.77 percent of that cost (€1.63bn).
This cash, therefore, is for services rendered
and funding is not one way. Over the last financial period Norwegian
beneficiaries were paid €1.01 billion from EU funds, making the net
contribution over the seven-year period €620 million, approximately a €90
million net contribution per year. If this was applied to the UK on a pro-rata
basis as part of the EFTA/EEA arrangement, it would contribute approximately
€2.5 billion annually, 70% of which is accounted for by the EU’s research
It is highly
likely that the UK would wish to continue its participation in many of the same
programmes and agencies beyond the length of its current obligations.
As to the
specific EFTA contributions paid for the functioning of the Single Market,
these come out of the EFTA budget. According to the latest figures, EFTA budgetary costs in 2016 will
run to 21 677 000 Swiss Francs (approximately £15.5
million). Norway’s 54.68% share of that contribution amounts to
approximately £7 million. This could be said to be, in-effect, the cost of
access to the Single Market, which would cost (on a pro-rata basis)
the UK less than £100 million per annum if we left the EU, joined EFTA and
traded with the EU via the EEA.
So yes, membership of the
European Economic Area does involve costs, we would “still pay”, but the Remain
campaign is disingenuous when they say this, because we would pay significantly
less than we do now.