Minister of Defence met the EU Troika

The Norwegian Minister of Defence, Anne-Grethe Strøm-Erichsen, visited Brussels on 15 May 2006 in connection with the formal Council meeting among the EU Ministers of Defence.

16/05/2006 :: Strøm-Erichsen attended a separate breakfast meeting with her party colleagues in the Party of European Socialists (PES), which was attended by a number of Ministers of Defence.  They agreed to continue work on a joint platform for a common European policy on security and defence issues.

In the afternoon Mrs. Strøm-Erichsen attended the so-called Troika+5 meeting in which Norway takes part together with Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Turkey, in order to be informed about the results from the EU Council meeting on Defence and the European Defence Agency’s Steering Board meeting, which both took place in Brussels earlier the same day. This is the third time the Minister meets with the Troika after she took office in October last year.

While in Brussels Strøm-Erichsen held a press conference with the Norwegian Brussels-based correspondents. She primarily focused on Norwegian military contributions to operations in Afghanistan and Darfur. “On the basis of our experience from our involvement in Afghanistan, we have seen the importance for stability of building schools and infrastructure, providing health care, and ensuring water supplies. We will continue this parallel work of providing both development aid and security”, Strøm-Erichsen told the press.

Norway is currently preparing to participate in a UN-led operation in Darfur, once the decision has been made and the UN has given a mandate. The political focus in Norway is on Darfur, and due to resource constraints Norway has declined the invitation to participate in an EU-led operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the time being.

(Published 16.05.06)

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The Norwegian Minister of Defence, Anne-Grethe Strøm-ErichsenPhoto: Unni Claussen, Norwegian Mission