EU developments central to Norway’s foreign policy

Although Norway has chosen to remain outside the EU, close co-operation in Europe is of great importance for Norwegian foreign policy. Developments in the EU are of major significance for the Government’s active European policy, says Foreign Minister Petersen.

15/02/2006 :: EU enlargement, the neighbourhood policy and the Lisbon Strategy were key European issues in Foreign Minister Jan Petersen’s statement to the Norwegian Parliament on foreign policy 15 February

As a European country outside the Union it is important to Norway to keep a close eye on EU developments, to identify Norwegian interests and the prospects and challenges that may arise as a result of it.

“The EU’s decision to enter into membership negotiations with Turkey is a historic one. The prospects of membership is a strong incentive for democratic reform in the country. This will affect Norway. With time Turkey may become our partner in the internal market as well, with the opportunities and challenges this entails,” said Foreign Minister Pedersen.

For Norway, as for the rest of Europe, it is positive that the EU, through enlargement and treaty reform is intensifying its efforts at promoting stability, democracy and development through enlargement positively at a time when internal and external security are becoming closely interlinked.

“The EU is, to an increasing extent, employing both foreign policy measures and justice and home affairs policy measures to address the threats and challenges connected with human trafficking and other organized crime. This includes partnership and cooperation with third countries on measures to promote democracy and welfare in these countries,” said Foreign Minister Petersen.

During the Ukrainian elections the EU demonstrated a strong will to enforce its ties with neighbouring states, as well as its commitment to the promotion of democracy and human rights.

Norway and the EU also shares the same goals for the Lisbon strategy for the period 2000-2010 in its aims to achieve a stronger and more competitive European economy, while also preserving a sustainable development.

“It is important to maintain a balance between the strategy’s goal of economic growth on the one hand and environmental sustainability and social cohesion on the other. In practice this means preserving the best of the welfare state, hile at the same time increasing competitiveness and taking environmental concerns into account,” said Foreign Minister Petersen.


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The EU and candidate countriesPhoto: The European Commission