Oslo looks to Brussels for strengthened security and defence

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - May 29, 2024
The new Security and Defence Partnership agreement was signed by Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram (left), Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (right) and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. Photo: eeas.europa.eu

“Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has changed our security policy environment,” Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said as he signed a new Security and Defence Partnership agreement with the European Union.

As Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine rages on and Moscow increasingly seeks to destabilise European countries, Norway’s ministers of defence and foreign affairs this week traveled to Brussels to strengthen ties with the EU.

The agreement was signed on the 28th of May during the Schuman Security and Defence Forum.

Norway is member of NATO, but not of the EU. The the new agreement will bolster the European pilar of the country’s security.

“NATO is and will remain the anchorage in Norwegian defence and security policy. At the same time, the EU is to a greater degree takes initiatives that complement NATO,”  Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram says in a comment.

The agreement includes Norway’s involvement in EU defence initiatives, as well as stronger cooperation in fields like maritime security, cyber security and fighting foreign information manipulation and interference.

The two parts will also strengthen cooperation on protection of critical infrastructure, including underwater cables and pipelines.

“The partnership takes EU-Norway relations to the next level, contributing to collective security benefitting both Norwegian and EU citizens,” a statement from the EU Diplomatic Service reads.It opens up new avenues to work closer together, Josep Borrell underlines in a tweet.

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