Norway’s foreign policy

Well anchored in the UN, in NATO and in concert with our EU partners we will seek to add value to global efforts to promote peace and development. Norway can only thrive internationally through close cooperation and partnerships, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in his speech at London School of Economics today.

15/02/2006 :: On Norway’s relationship with the European Union, Gahr Støre pointed out that few EU member states have more extensive trade relations with the EU area than Norway. The agreement on the European Economic Area includes Norway into the internal market with equal rights and obligations. Norway supports the new member states with transition programmes. Norway is member of Schengen. There is also a close dialogue with the EU on foreign and security policy.

“The obvious question for many of our friends is then: why not become a member?” Gahr Støre said. This question has been put to Norwegians at two occasions, in 1972 and in 1994. With a narrow margin a majority voted against. No stable majority has been mobilized in favour of a third bid. This is the reality. Thus, the new Norwegian government, as the previous one, will not apply for EU membership.

“Here and now we will do the outmost of our present European relationships”, he stated. Norway will structure its foreign policy with an anchor in the EEA agreement while seeking every opportunity to cooperate with the EU and EU members where that may be in mutual interest. And where interests may differ, Norway will do what it can to safeguard Norwegian interests, like all European states do.

Foreign Minister Gahr Støre also spoke of the need to combat international terrorism,  Norway’s support for the UN system, Norwegian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflict prevention and Norwegian policy in the High North.

To read the whole statement, click on the link to the right.

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