LeaveHQ, 21/03/2016  

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 programme.

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.


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