Norway and EU sign Security and Defence Partnership

Today, Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram, Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell signed an agreement establishing a new Security and Defence Partnership between Norway and the EU. The agreement was signed in Brussels prior to the EU’s second annual Schuman Security and Defence Forum.

Bilde av Gram, Borrell og Eide som håndhilser
Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide following the signing of the partnership agreement in Brussels. Credit: Mathias Rongved/MFA

‘Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has changed the security policy landscape in Europe. NATO is, and will remain, the cornerstone of Norwegian defence and security policy. At the same time, the EU is increasingly seeking to strengthen its role in security and defence, in a way that complements NATO. In line with this, Norway and the EU have increased their cooperation, for example on support to Ukraine, including the provision of equipment and training for Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel, as well as measures to increase defence production capacity in Europe. This is also of importance to the Norwegian defence industry,’ said Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram.

The partnership agreement outlines and reaffirms the ongoing cooperation between Norway and the EU in the area of ​​security and defence. The intention is, among other things, to strengthen cooperation relating to crisis management, the defence industry, space activities, critical infrastructure and hybrid threats.

‘This partnership agreement consolidates the various elements of our security and defence cooperation with the EU. It provides a foundation for our already existing cooperation, while at the same time identifying areas where it would be beneficial to increase cooperation in the future,’ said Mr Eide.

The new partnership provides a sound framework for dialogue and consultations between Norway and the EU at all levels. It allows for Norway to be invited to EU ministerial meetings, and we are establishing a formal annual dialogue on security and defence at the political level.

‘The partnership is also intended on strengthen cooperation on consular matters, i.e. the services a country offers its citizens abroad. This is crucial in the context of crisis management, and closer cooperation will benefit Norway, the EU, and our citizens,’ said Mr Eide.

The partnership agreement highlights the full breadth of Norway's close cooperation with the EU on security and defence, in particular the important role played by the Norwegian defence industry in the European market.

Norway already participates in the European Defence Fund (EDF), the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the PESCO project on military mobility. We also provide funding and personnel to the EU’s training mission for Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel (EUMAM Ukraine) and have decided to participate in the new EU programmes on ramping up ammunition production capacity (ASAP) and on promoting joint procurement of defence capabilities (EDIRPA). The Norwegian Government is also continuing efforts to ensure that the Norwegian space industry can participate in the EU's secure connectivity programme.

The new partnership also provides a framework for increasing the exchange of classified information and strengthening cooperation on addressing cyber and hybrid threats. It also forms a basis for continued Norwegian participation in EU civilian missions and defence industry programmes.