Decision-making, Implementation and Reform
New Horizons in Environmental Politics series
Chapter 9: Implementation in Norway
While formally outside the EU, Norway is associated with the EU through the EEA Agreement. This provides access to the internal market, subject to Norwegian implementation of relevant EU legislation – but not to EU decisionmaking. The EU’s package approach to climate and energy policy for 2020, with heavy involvement of the European Council, reduced Norway’s possibilities for informal influence. As Norway’s energy and emissions profile has differed from that of the EU, the package was not well aligned to the country’s energy and climate situation. Thus, hurdles were expected – and the implementation pattern observed was a mixture of support, delays and continued opposition. A combination of factors can explain this: differences between the situation of Norway and that of the EU, domestic politics and characteristics of the EEA Agreement – moreover, foot-dragging in implementation is easier if discussions are still ongoing at the EU level. Changes facilitated by the package have largely been absorbed, especially given possibilities for flexibility and compensation. The 2020 package was no game-changer, and experience with the 2020 package thus has had little impact on Norway’s 2030 position, which has remained largely stable. However, changes in EU priorities – notably towards ‘domestic’ emissions reduction – have forced Norway to look in new places for possibilities to offset domestic emissions, reconsidering its stance on participation in EU climate policy for non-traded sectors.
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