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Strengthening the defence of Norwegian interests internationally

‘International cooperation is under pressure. Established rights and freedoms cannot be taken for granted. We must now come together to defend the values that are fundamental to Norwegian foreign policy,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

On 12 September, Ms Eriksen Søreide launched a project to draw up a new white paper on Norway’s role and interests in the context of international cooperation. The white paper is to be submitted to the Storting in the spring of 2019. It will examine how Norway can best safeguard its interests through international cooperation, at a time when international cooperation and the norms that underpin it are coming under increasing pressure. Important topics will be the development and defence of international law, peace and security, global free trade, welfare, respect for human rights, irregular migration, and transnational challenges such as climate change and pandemics.

‘As a relatively small country with an open economy, Norway is dependent on multilateral cooperation in order to address the challenges it faces in a range of areas, including trade, climate, migration, and peace and reconciliation. At the same time, we are finding it more difficult to gain support for this kind of cooperation,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Ms Eriksen Søreide pointed to a number of challenges facing the multilateral system today. Power is shifting, from north to south and, to an even greater extent, from west to east. There is greater scepticism about the value of multilateral cooperation, including among Norway’s key allies. Established norms and rights are being challenged. There is growing dissatisfaction over, and scepticism towards, the economic effects of globalisation. And new problems, for example in the area of cybersecurity, call for new forms of cooperation.

‘Given the current situation, the Government is seeking to mobilise action in defence of the values on which Norwegian foreign policy is based: democracy, human rights, free trade and respect for international rules,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

The white paper will also examine working methods, i.e., how Norway works, in concrete terms, to promote Norwegian interests at the international level, and will highlight the need to find new partners in addition to our traditional allies. Reform will be a key word, as defending a rule-based, liberal world order also means adapting international organisations so that they can respond to new challenges and deliver results effectively.

The white paper will also discuss the Government’s priority areas of global health and education, the establishment of the international High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, and Norway’s candidature to the UN Security Council. These are all efforts to support multilateral cooperation, and areas where Norway’s interests and values are of central importance.

In connection with the launch of the project to draw up the white paper, Ms Eriksen Søreide asked for input and debate on how Norway can promote its interests at the international level.

 

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