Although Norway is among the founding members of the NATO, the Nordic Council and the United Nations, it is not a member state of the European Union. Nevertheless, it is still associated with the Union through a membership in the European Economic Area (EEA), since Norway is among the EU’s most important export and import partners.
The Kingdom of Norway gained its independence from the union with Sweden in June 1905, but it was later that year, in October, when Sweden officially recognized the union’s dissolution. Norway now is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy that is divided into 19 administrative divisions. The state ranks high on the global peace index, making it one of the most peaceful countries in the world.
Norway boasts a stable market economy and an ever-increasing growth rate of about 1.02 percent as of 2016. It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe; most of the EU member states struggle with a higher percentage. In 2016, Norway imported goods worth more than 70 billion U.S. dollars, and exported goods of roughly 89 billion U.S. dollars, leaving it with a sizeable trade surplus. The most important import partners are Germany and Sweden, and its main export partner is Great Britain.