In the recent White Paper on Norwegian Security and Foreign Policy, emphasis is placed on Norway’s working to build closer cooperation with its European allies. State Secretary Øystein Bø, who visited Brussels this Wednesday, started that job long ago.
- It is most interesting for us in the political leadership to speak directly with both the EU and Nato, to be updated on important issues and transmit our views, says State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Defence Øystein Bø.
Aviation technology and weapons of mass destruction
Despite Norway’s not being a member of the EU, Norway and the EU have a closely-knit defense and security cooperation.
Norway contributes to the EU’s military and civilian emergency handling operations, and cooperates about the developing of military resources in order to strengthen the European countries’ ability to defend themselves.
When Bø visited visited Brussels on Wednesday, he met with among others Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defense Agency (EDA).
Norway has had an Administrative Arrangement with the EDA since 2006, an arrangement that permits Norwegian participation in the EDA’s various programs, projects and other initiatives.
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, the State Secretary received updates on projects in which Norway takes part, such as the SESAR program (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research and Development), which aims at contributing to improved aviation technology.
Norway’s cooperation on protection against weapons of mass destruction, the so-called CBRN defense (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear), was also discussed.
- These meetings are one out of a series of measures taken to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation with the EU, Bø says in a press statement.
Closer military cooperation
During the visit to Brussels, Bø also met with Pedro Serrano, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service. Their meeting focused on the EU’s crisis management operations and the conducting of the EU’s global strategy for foreign and security policy.
On 21 April, the Norwegian government presented a new White Paper about which choices Norway should take in the time to come in order to be best possibly positioned, given an increasingly demanding security policy situation.
One of the conclusions is that the European cooperation must be strengthened, and that the efforts in instable areas south and east of Europe must be increased.
During the White Paper launch in Oslo, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende also made a point of Norway’s having to lead a firm and predictable policy on Russia, while also continuing to develop the trans-Atlantic cooperation. The anchor of Norwegian security policy remains within NATO – and the American security guarantee.
The White Paper is at present in process at the Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense. The Committee is to present its position by 7 June. The preliminary date for processing the White Paper in Stortinget (the Parliament) is 15 June.