Minister Eide’s remarks at U.S. Independence Day Celebration

Remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, at the United States of America’s 248th anniversary of independence.

(as delivered)

Thank you. Dear Sharon. Dear everybody at the US embassy. Dear friends, American, Norwegian and everybody else. It is great to be here. Happy 4th. of July. Please remember that it is the 4th. of July today. It might not seem so in your calendar, but the American Embassy realized many years ago that on the actual 4th. of July, there are nobody in Oslo. So, it is much better to celebrate when there are still people around.

And it’s great to be part of this gathering together with you all and together with you, Sharon, and your team. I also want to say happy 248th year! I mean, you're really keeping young. Not only you, Sharon, but also the United States of America. Which, of course, is a great nation, a great friend, and our closest ally.

But it is also, in my view, and one of the reasons I am a deep admirer of America, is that it is also a project. It is ongoing. You're always building, and Americans are incredibly good at looking at the future. And to just think that things can be done. And you can go somewhere, and you can shape the world. That is a fantastic spirit. And amazingly sometimes, you even manage to create things and make it happen. So, this is really something that we all cherish in our partnership with the United States of America.

Close allies, as I mentioned, security partnership, defense partnership, close intelligence partnership, so many political relations with the US government that are lasting, and that have been there for so many years and which are looking great as we also look into the future.

This partnership is, of course, particularly important in difficult times. And to be honest, even on this joyous day of celebration, we are living in difficult times. In only a few weeks, we will gather in Washington for the next NATO summit, a particularly important NATO summit, at home for the transatlantic alliance. It is, after all, called the Washington Treaty.

So, after 75 years, to go back to the origins. Norway was a founding father – with the United States of America – of NATO. We will celebrate 75 years, but we will spend more time on focusing on how to deal with the questions of today, the challenges of the present, and the years ahead. Both with terms to Ukraine. How to deal with a complicated neighborhood. We will talk about relations to China. We will talk about many of the issues on our common agenda, as we should.

And it is very nice to know that although Sharon is leaving us from Oslo, which is a pity, you're not going that far. Because, yes, you are going to Washington, but you will be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for NATO and Nordic Baltic Affairs. That's us! We are NATO, and we are Nordic Baltics. So, we couldn't be better off. If we don't see you here, we'll see you there, and we look forward to that continued partnership and that continued relationship.

And one small story I'll tell you is that many years ago, the State Department decided to reorganize itself and to put us together with the Baltic states. And if you don't tell your Baltic friends - I'm sure they're here, they are good friends of mine, too - we thought; we are not really Baltic. But now it seems perfectly logical. It is a primary partnership area for us. So, we thought that was very wise and we followed after. The Nordic Baltic community is now particularly important for us as Norway. And that's why I think it's incredibly nice that we will meet you also in the context of NATO and Nordic Baltic affairs.

You mentioned in your statement the close cooperation on other issues, and I also want to highlight the very close partnership we've had over the last years. On climate, on the green transition, on building business opportunities out of saving the world. That's another very great American idea. You can actually make money from creating a better world. I agree, and I think that's a spirit that we should continue to work on, on that front. And then we work on many global issues, and you mentioned some of them. Both the conflicts we talk about every day, but also the forgotten conflicts - by the media - which I think we didn't forget, and we still work on, including in Africa.

Many times, in my different jobs I was wondering about this concept of the international community. Who are they, actually? Supposedly everybody. But it is never everybody. It tends to be a group of countries. And then I realized that the international community, applied to a place - say Sudan or South Sudan or Somalia - is the group of countries who happen to be interested in that particular place, plus the United States of America. Because they are always part of it. And that's also true here. So as an outward looking, engaged country, we meet America and we meet with America, and we cooperate with you in so many contexts. So, in that context, it's really great also to celebrate not only our excellent bilateral relations, but also our common efforts to make the world a better place. And if the world is not going so well, we have to work even harder together to make it an even better place.

And then finally, again to Sharon, congratulations on not only your new posting, but also tomorrow's events. Well done to your coming husband! And well done you! I wish you a happy life together, and I wish you a very great future in your coming family life and your future.

And I want to say to everybody again, remember, we are on the 4th. of July. We're celebrating 4th. of July. Happy 4th. of July!

And happy thoughts to the continued close partnership between Norway and the United States of America.