The local and regional authorities in Norway are represented in several European organisations and are active partners in international projects. The European Charter of Local Self-Government lays down standards for protecting the rights of local authorities in Norway and the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
EU and EEA affairs
Norway’s relationship with the EU is regulated through several cooperation and association agreements. The EEA Agreement (European Economic Area) is by far the largest and most comprehensive and gives the EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) access to the EU’s internal market. In addition, Norway takes part in Interreg, which is part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). These connections require both legal and political connections between Norwegian municipalities and counties, and the EU.
A study found that EU policy and legislation intersects with just under 50 per cent of the agenda points at municipal and county council meetings in Norway. KS works with EU and EEA affairs mainly through three European umbrella organisations: The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises Providing Public Services (CEEP), and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE). KS’ first deputy president is currently co-president of CEMR. KS also works through the EFTA consultative committee and EEA EFTA Forum of Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities.
In its EU and EEA work KS aims to:
- obtain and disseminate information on future EU and EEA initiatives
- influence EU and EEA affairs
- share experiences, innovations and good practices with counterparts across Europe
KS has an office in Brussels located in the House of European Municipalities and Regions, reflecting the fact that our members’ interests are often similar to the local government sector in other European countries. KS’ Brussels office was established in 1993 following Norway’s signature of the European Economic Area agreement (EEA).
KS’ operational activities in Europe
KS is a partner in many international projects where we facilitate exchange between our members and their European counterparts. Projects aim at strengthening local democracy, governance and development. Thematically, projects address matters such as circular economy, better spatial planning, capacity for community development, climate change mitigation, citizen participation, inclusion, social dialogue, and more.
International projects are fully funded from external resources. The main donors are EEA/Norway Grants, which provides funding within the EU, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provides funding for projects in countries that are members of the Council of Europe but outside of the EU. EEA/Norway Grants aims to reduce social and economic disparities in the EU. KS - often jointly with members - takes part in projects in Poland, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Malta, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs grants funding for projects on governance and stability in Europe outside of the EU. Such projects, for example, facilitate internship exchange of local government employees between Russia and Norway or build capacity in our sister organisation in Moldova.
EU programme participation
KS works to ensure that our members have access to EU programmes and Interreg. KS also works to mobilise municipalities and regions to develop project proposals that are funded by the EU programmes. You can read more about EU programme participation here.
Council of Europe
The European system of multi-level governance is regulated through the European Charter of Local Self-Government, binding the 47 member states in the Council of Europe to a common set of principles for local democracy. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities monitors member states’ implementation of the Charter and assists when shortcomings are identified.
KS also contributes towards the leadership of Congress where our First Deputy President acts as President of the Chamber of Regions as well as Deputy President of Congress. Furthermore, KS in the person of our First Deputy President has contributed as rapporteur for several monitoring missions in recent years.
KS’ secretariat provides support to the Norwegian delegation to Congress. Furthermore, monitoring reports on the situation for local democracy are important tools when designing cooperation programmes with sister associations in Europe.
Visiting address: Haakon VIIs gt. 9, 0161 Oslo, Norway
Mail address: P.O. box 1378 Vika, 0114 Oslo, Norway
Brussels office: European House of Municipalities and Regions.
Address: Square de Meeûs 1,1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 (0) 25 50 12 90 Fax: +32 (0) 25 50 12 95