Norway and Iceland are members of the European Single Market, but are not members of the EU. Likewise the UK might eventually leave the EU, but stay within the EEA.

What are the benefits of being in such a position when compared to regular membership? From what I understand being inside the EEA means you follow all of EU's rules, but don't have a vote on any of them.

  • The main benefits in which the Leave boat heavily campaigned for is having control of the borders and releasing the burden of the cost of membership (this article may help clarify a couple of things). Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 8:36
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    @BradleyWilson: Not so. Norway and Iceland have free movement with the EU, so "control of the borders" doesn't apply. Norway also contributes to the EU budget, albeit less per head than the UK. Norway and Iceland do have control over their own agriculture and fisheries, instead of being subject to the CAP/CFP. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 13:16
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    @BradleyWilson UK already has control of its borders (except with ROI, Channel Islands, and IoM) as they're outside Schengen. Evenso they want those borders to be in France and Belgium, which is a particularly “interesting” way to claim control of ones own borders. What the UK currently does not fully control is the right of EU/EEA citizens to settle in the UK (i.e. the UK has signed up to agreements granting EU/EEA citizens the right to settle in the UK).
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 13:22
  • @RoyalCanadianBandit + gerrit interesting, thanks for the clarification. The reason why I commented it, rather than answered. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 13:24
  • Norway has some control over how their money is spent
    – user14816
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


Agriculture and Fisheries are not covered by the EEA. In particular control over fisheries is a big deal for countries like Norway and Iceland, and perhaps one of the main reasons Norway is reluctant to fully join the EU. From the Wikipedia article:

Agriculture and fisheries are not covered by the EEA. Not being bound by the Common Fisheries Policy is perceived as very important by Norway and Iceland, and a major reason not to join the EU. The Common Fisheries Policy would mean giving away fishing quotas in their waters.

Additionally, some of the financial obligations do not apply:

The EEA countries that are not part of the EU do not bear the financial burdens associated with EU membership, although they contribute to the EEA Grants scheme to “reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA”, and some choose to take part in EU programmes such as Trans-European Networks and the European Regional Development Fund

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