Norway to strengthen green cooperation with EU

Source: press release, 1 March 2021

Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn (photo: Ministry of Climate and Environment)
Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn (photo: Ministry of Climate and Environment)

Norway has technology and expertise that is vital for Europe’s green transition. In a meeting on 1 March between Norwegian ministers and EU commissioners, Norway and the EU agreed to strengthen cooperation on how to promote the transition to a modern and competitive low-carbon economy.

The European Green Deal was launched by the European Commission in 2019. This is both a growth strategy and a cross-sectoral plan to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.

During the meeting, members of the European Commission and Norwegian government ministers discussed how to translate ambitious climate targets into concrete action. Meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement will require a transformation process that extends across all areas of society and stakeholders.

Innovation and development of technology are two of the keys to achieving the green transition, and the private sector will play a central role. The discussion revolved around issues such as carbon taxes and other climate-related measures, and the circular economy, with a focus on battery technology, electrification of transport, green shipping and carbon capture and storage (CSS). The use of hydrogen as a potential long-term solution for decarbonising the energy sector was also discussed.

“Norway supports Europeʼs leading role in promoting sustainable development and climate-friendly policies, and the European Green Deal provides a guide for rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our activities are already closely tied to EU climate policy through the EEA Agreement and a formal agreement on achieving the 2030 climate target. Norway is highly relevant as a partner for the EU and has research institutions, technology, a business sector and expertise that play an important part in developing a climate-neutral Europe,” says Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

“The European Green Deal is about building competitiveness through a green transition. An ambitious climate policy is also a good business policy. Norway has technology, expertise and products which make us an attractive partner for Europe. Green shipping is one of the areas where the EU looks to Norway, and where the Norwegian Government has created a framework that will give Norwegian actors a strong position,” says Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn.

The launch of the Norwegian Longship project for carbon capture and storage (CCS) has aroused widespread interest in Europe. Norway’s goal is to provide a European infrastructure for CCS.

Offshore wind power is another area that stands out as a good candidate for future cooperation with the EU, and where Norwegian companies can provide a wide range of expertise.

“We are pleased that the EU has shown such great interest in our Longship project, which is now fully underway. Close European cooperation on CCS is vital for this climate technology is to become an international success. We must therefore make it clear to our European neighbours that the carbon storage facility on the Norwegian continental shelf also holds potential for European industry. We have also noted that the EU is showing great interest in offshore wind power, especially floating wind farms, and is following developments in Norway closely. These are good examples of the impact that the green transition in progress here in Norway is having outside our borders,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru.

Norway and the EU share common interests in the maritime sector and green shipping. This sector is an important driver of technological innovation, including electric ferries, which are being tested in Norwegian fjords.

“The experience of the Norwegian transport sector may be relevant for other countries. Many cities have improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions as a result of stricter emission requirements for vehicles. We believe that European countries will be best served by the strictest possible EU-wide emission requirements for vehicles. Norway, with its mountainous terrain and harsh weather conditions, can also be a suitable arena for testing new technology, such as electric aircraft. The Norwegian transport sector is ready to learn from other countries, and also to share its knowledge and expertise for use in Europe’s Green Deal,” says Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide.

Norway and the EU agree on the need to mobilise climate finance to ensure a higher level of global ambition for emission cuts. Both parties will continue their efforts to promote greater global ambition in areas such as biodiversity, chemicals and waste, reducing deforestation and reducing marine plastic litter.

The EU and Norway cooperate closely through the EEA Agreement, which will include large parts of the proposed legislation under Europe’s Green Deal. Norway and the EU also have a close climate partnership under the 2019 agreement on achieving the 2030 climate target.