EU elections affect Norway

Some of Europe’s decisions matter to Norway even though it’s not an EU member

EU elections

Image: Marco Verch / Flickr

Gerard Taylor
Norway Today

Many electoral promises were made before the EU elections, but what exactly has the European Union Parliament decided? Here are examples that affect Norway.

Plastics are out

As of 2021, many disposable plastic products, such as cutlery, plates, straws, and cotton swabs, are to be prohibited throughout the EU. The purpose of the ban is to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the sea. The European Commission presented the proposal. Following negotiations with the Council of Ministers and Parliament, a detailed bill was voted on and received a large majority in parliament.

Norway was inspired by the EU ban and has introduced a similar law, which will take effect next year.

Data protection

In 2016, the EU’s new data protection regulation (General Data Protection Regulation) was adopted and it entered into force in the EU member states on May 25 last year. GDPR is incorporated into the European Economic Area and therefore also applies in Norway.

GDPR imposes strict requirements on businesses and organizations in handling personal data from individuals. Among other things, visitors to websites must approve personal data being collected. Companies that break these rules risk millions in fines.

Equal pay for equal work

From 2020, the EU Posting of Workers Directive (from 1996) will also regulate how long EU citizens can be on a time-limited job in another EU country.

The new rules set a limit of 18 months. After this, the employee will be fully covered by the host country’s labor market rules.

The new regulations will in all cases also be introduced in the EEA and Norway.

New rules for truck transport

Truck drivers who drive in another EU country must follow that country’s labor market rules. This is part of the European Parliament’s major roadmap that intends to reduce or prevent dumping of wages in the transport sector. Final negotiations still remain on this.

Norway has (as part of the Road Alliance) been a driving force for this, along with other countries. Several countries in Eastern Europe have opposed the changes, as they will weaken their transport companies competing on wages in the west.

Concurrent mobile phone prices

Since 2017, mobile customers have paid the same price as at home when they call, send an SMS, or use the internet on trips to EU countries and countries in the EEA. This is a matter that the EU Parliament would like to highlight among the nearly 1,000 bills that have been dealt with since 2014.

The rule concerns most people in the EU and the EEA and not just individual companies or individual industries.

Copyright controversy

The EU’s new rules on copyright on the internet have been discussed. The followers are looking forward to increased protection for authors, photographers, and artists’ rights. Critics believe that the law limits the free flow of information on the internet.

This article was originally published on Norway Today.

This article originally appeared in the June 14, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.