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Norway

(last updated: 15.06.2018)
The Kingdom of Norway recognized the Republic of Estonia de jure on 5 February 1921. Norway never recognized the illegal annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union and after the Second World War some Estonian honorary consulates in Norway continued their existence. Diplomatic relations were re-established on 27 August 1991. In the autumn of 1991, Norway opened its Embassy in Tallinn and Brit Løvseth started her work as Norway’s  ambassador to Estonia. Current Norwegian Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli presented his credentials to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on 18 September 2014.

In February 1994, Estonia opened its embassy in Oslo with Tiit Naber appointed as a Chargé d'Affaires and since 2000, the Estonian Ambassador has resided in Oslo. Currently the Estonian ambassador to Norway is Janne Jõesaar-Ruusalu, who presented her credentials to King of Norway Harald V on 22 September 2016.

Estonia has six honorary consuls in Norway-Trond Bernhard Brekke in Trondheim, Per Trygve Kongsnes in Tromsø, Reidar and Oscar Maaseide in Stavanger, Eivind Lund in Krisiansand and Karin Ellis in Bergen.

There is also a Norwegian parliamentary group in Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu), it has 7 members, the chairman for the parliamentary group is Laine Randjärv and the deputy chairman is Helmen Kütt.

 

Visits

To Norway
October 2017 President Kersti Kaljulaid
September 2016 Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso
September 2014 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit
May 2014 Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet
October 2013 Prime Minister Andrus Ansip for the NB8 Prime Ministers meeting
August 2013 Official visit of the Head of the Defence Forces Riho Terras
August 2010 Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet
March 2006 Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet
February 2005 Prime Minister Juhan Parts
July 2004 Minister of Defence Margus Hanson
September 2002 Minister of Regional Affairs Toivo Asmer
April 2002 President Arnold Rüütel
September 2001 Minister of Culture Signe Kivi
October 2000 Minister of Foreign Affairs Toomas Hendrik Ilves
To Estonia
June 2017 Prime Minister Erna Solberg
May 2017 Minister of European Affairs Frank Bakke-Jensen
March 2016 Minister of European Affairs Elisabeth Aspaker
October 2014 Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Vidar Helgesen
October 2014 Official visit of the head of the Norwegian Armed Forces Haakon Bruun-Hanssen
October 2011 Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
September 2008 Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre
November 2007 President of the Parliament Thorbjørn Jagland
October 2002 Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Petersen
February 2002 Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
October 1999 President of the Parliament Kirsti Kolle Grøndal
August 1998 State visit of King of Norway Harald V and Queen Sonja
April 1998 Minister of Foreign Affairs Knut Vollebæk

 

Bilateral relations

Relations between Estonia and Norway are characterised by close co-operation in the areas of economy, culture and defence. The traditionally good relations with Norway are reflected by, among other things, the considerable volume of bilateral trade and  Norwegian investments to Estonia.

Estonia's relations with Norway in the framework of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, as well as in the co-operation of the Baltic and Nordic countries, are notably extensive and diverse.

DEFENCE COOPERATION

In 1995 the framework agreement for bilateral defence cooperation between Estonia and Norway was signed. At the international level, Norway repeatedly expressed its support for Estonia’s aspirations to accede to NATO.
Norway has rendered assistance in the coordination and development of several cooperation projects in the field of defence. The first Estonian peacekeepers  were trained in Norway’s peacekeeping company and, from 1996-1997, their baptism by fire in the ranks of Norway’s peacekeeping forces in Lebanon. After Estonia’s accession to NATO the main focus of defence-related cooperation shifted to co-operation within NATO. Keywords in this context are Norway’s participation in Baltic air policing, cooperation in training, joint training projects, logistics, and defence policy consultations. Bilateral political-military negotiations also take place on a regular basis.
Practical defence-related cooperation with Norway also takes place in the NB8 format (Baltic+Nordic countries) and  jointly participating in the EU Nordic Battle Group.
The Estonian defence attaché in Norway since 2016 is Colonel Lietunant Kalev Koidumäe, who resides in Stockholm.

 

Agreements

As of 1 May 2004, Estonia-Norway trade relations are regulated by the European Economic Area Agreement (EAA).

Estonia and Norway have signed all major economic agreements:

  • Agreement on the Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments
  • Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital
  • Air Services Agreement and Agreement concerning International Road Transport

 

Economic relations

In 2008, the Norwegian-Estonian Chamber of Commerce was created in Tallinn, since 2016 3 representatives of Enterprise Estonia work in Oslo.

FINANCE MECHANISMS

An important instrument of bilateral relations is the EMP/Norway support system (EEA/Norway Grants).

An important part in Estonian-Norwegian relations since 2004 are the EEA/Norway financial mechanisms. Three non-EU countries – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – contribute to EU structural funds that aims to assist investment and development projects, contribute to reducing social and economic disparities in EU and deepen bilateral relations with donors.

During the first 5-year implementation period (2004-2009) the amount of fund for Estonia was approx. 30 million euros, the projects funded mainly environmental, cultural heritage (i.e. renovating manor schools in Väätsa, Puurmanni, Laupa, Kogi, Olustvere etc), health care and regional policy areas.
Over the second implementation period 2009-2014 Estonia’s share was approximately 45 million euros. The science cooperation program, aimed to support research and development activities, proved to be very popular. 13 projects with good potential received financing and were carried out in collaboration with universities in Norway. In the framework of the third period (2014–2021), Estonia’s share will be approximately 68 million euros.

Another program in which the cooperation between Estonia and Norway is quite active, is the Green Industry Innovation program, led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Enterprise Estonia, which focuses on intelligent solutions for information and communication technology.

TRADE

Norway is one of Estonia's most important export partners and our balance of trade is strongly positive. As of 2017, Norway positioned 11-12th among Estonia’s biggest trading partners (2,2% of total).

Estonia-Norway trade 2013-2017 (million euros)

Year Export % of total export Import % of total import Balance Turnover % of total turnover
2013 447.5 3.6 100.2 0.7 347.3 547.6 2.1
2014 469.1 3.9 104.9 0.8 364.2 573.9 2.2
2015 480.5 4.1 100.9 0.8 379.6 581.4 2.4
2016 483.1 4.1 95.3 0.7 387.8 578.4 2.3
2017 511.7 4.0 92.3 0.6 419.4 604.0 2.2

Norway ranked as Estonia’s 7th export partner in 2017, the export increased by 6% as compared to 2016. As of the end of 2016, 1124 Estonian companies were exporting to Norway. In 2017, Norway ranked as Estonia's 23rd import partner, the import fell by 3% as compared to 2016.

Major export articles in 2017:

  • Miscellaneous manufactured articles (wooden houses; lamps and lighting fixtures, furniture, etc) – 30%
  • Wood and articles of wood – 18%
  • Machinery and mechanical appliances – 15%
  • Vehicles, transport equipment – 9%
  • Base metals and articles of base metal – 5%

Major import articles in 2017:

  • Vehicles, transport equipment – 28%
  • Machinery and mechanical appliances – 20%
  • Mineral products – 12%
  • Base metals and articles of base metal – 9%

All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia

INVESTMENTS

(source: Bank of Estonia)

(million euros) 31.12.2012 31.12.2013 31.12.2014 31.12.2015 31.12.2016 31.12.2017
Norwegian investments in Estonia 689 695.5 889.8 696.2 474.4 398.3
Estonian investments in Norway 36.5 36.8 36.4 17.6 48.3 58.4

Norway is an important investor in Estonia, ranking 11th among foreign investors. In 2017, Norwegian investments were worth 398,3 million euros which is 2,1% of the total value of investments made to Estonia.

As of 2017, direct investments from Norway are primarily made in professional, research and technical activity (42%), wholesale and retail trade (24%) as well as real estate (14%).
Estonian investments in Norway (0,9% of all direct investments abroad) are mainly in processing industry (57%), wholesale and retail trade (12%), construction (5%) as well as transportation and storage (3%).

TOURISM

The number of tourists from Norway have slightly decreased over the past 5 years. In 2012, around 48 500 Norwegian tourists stayed overnight in Estonia. In 2017, approximately 36 000 Norwegian tourists stayed overnight in Estonia (1,7% of all tourists).

 

Cultural relations

Worth mentioning among Estonia’s and Norway’s close communication in the sphere of culture are the reciprocal visits and frequent performances of singing choirs, dance ensembles, delegations of friendship towns and counties.

There is an active Norwegian Estonian Society that primarily brings together Norwegians interested in Estonia who currently number around 200. The society regularly publishes the newsletter Estlands-nytt 3 to 4 times a year. The Norwegian Estonian Society brings together Estonians living in Norway; the main goal of the society is to support the integration of Estonians  living in Norway.
Approximately 6000 Estonian citizens are living and working in Norway.

MUSIC, THEATRE, FILM

Famous performers such saxophonist Jan Garbarek as pianist Sigurd Slåttebrekk, violinist Henning Kraggerud, jazz musicians Jarle Bernhoft, Trio Mediaeval, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Bergen Symphony Orchestra have given concerts in Estonia, Norwegian musicians also perform regularly at the annual jazz music festival Jazzkaar.

Estonian culture has been introduced in Norway from several aspects. Estonian musicians have  performed at various festivals, introducing the music of Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Tõnu Kõrvits, Erkki-Sven Tüür and others.
Several successful projects have been carried out in collaboration with other embassies: annual Baltic Film Festival, Oslo Culture Night, the Oslo Poetry Festival (one Estonian poet participates annually), the Tromsø International Film Festival, the Norwegian Short Film Festival (Estonian films participate every year), Europe Jazz Night, the Eurodok Film Festival and the Science Festival.
Several Estonian films have been screened in Norway, for instance "1944", "In the Crosswind" and "The Clementines". The Baltic Film Days, organized by Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Societies along with respective embassies, have become a tradition.

EDUCATION, LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, ART

Norway has supported the construction of the building of the anguage centre of the university of Tartu, as well as the instruction of Norwegian language and literature at the University. Norwegian language can also be chosen by students as a minor subject at Tallinn University. A co-operation agreement has been signed between the History and Philosophy Department of the University of Tartu and Oslo University’s language department.

In 2014, the reprint of Norwegian-Estonian/Estonian-Norwegian Dictionary was published.
Translations into Norwegian of literary works by Estonian authors, such as Jaan Kross and Viivi Luik, have mainly been made by Turid Farbregd, a Norwegian Estophile living and working in Finland. In 2016, Meelis Friendthal’s novel Bees was translated in Norwegian by Øyvind Rangøy.

In 2015, a photo exhibition My Favourite Things by Jazznytt editor Jan Granlie took place in Riigikogu.

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