The paradox of Norway’s “Inside, outside” approach towards the EU is particularly apparent in the areas of foreign policy and defence. Increasingly aware of its limited influence on EU policy formulation, Norway has adopted a proactive and participative approach to avoid marginal-isation. Norway’s foreign policy is aligned with the majority of EU foreign policy declaration and sanctions. Norway has also contributed troops to EU-led missions. By permanent deployment of its soldiers to EU battlegroups from 2005, Norway symbolically demonstrates its commitment to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). In addition, the EU and Norway cooperate in various regional organisations, in which they have to deal with other key parties, such as Russia.
Both institutional arrangements and every-day cooperation at international level are underpinned and driven by common interests and values, such as regional stabilisation, strengthening the international legal order, the rights of minorities, environment and sustainable development. However, in some cases, differences are acknowledged in particular in methods. In Arctic policy, for example, the EU has focused more on international governance in contrast to Norway’s priority of preserving national sovereignty.