Norway is strengthening its force contribution in the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Lithuania with up to 60 soldiers with a core of one mechanized infantry unit.
– We want to contribute to a strengthened Allied presence and security in the Baltics to show solidarity with our allies. For our part, this is best done by strengthening the force contribution we already have in Lithuania, says Minister of Defence Odd Roger Enoksen.
The force will travel to Lithuania quickly and initially for a period of three months. The period can be extended. The backdrop for this situation is the tense security situation in and around Ukraine.
– We are experiencing a challenging security situation in Europe. The massive Russian build-up around Ukraine, and the demands on the United States and Europe, have changed the security situation in Europe. This also affects Norway, and we are following the situation closely, says Enoksen.
– Norway has a long coast and is NATO's eyes and ears in the North. That is our most important task. Nevertheless, it is important to demonstrate Allied unity with our contribution here. Norway has close contact with allies and partners in this demanding situation and we are very satisfied that NATO shows a strong allied unity, says Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.
The Ukraine situation is the main topic of the NATO meeting that the Minister of Defence will attend this week.
– Norway is a flank nation in NATO. We contribute every day to situational understanding, preparedness and presence in our region. This winter we are hosting the military exercise Cold Response. This exercise demonstrates Allied strength, unity and ability to defend. At the same time, we contribute to NATO-forces. We are increasing the army contribution to the eFP in Lithuania, and we are contributing to NATO's reaction forces and standing naval forces, says Enoksen.
The Norwegian Parliament has been consulted on the matter.
At the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016, it was decided to establish an advanced presence of Allied Multinational Combat Groups (EFF) in the Baltics and Poland. The purpose of the EPP is to reassure allies and show alliance solidarity by signalling the ability and willingness to defend NATO's core areas.
Norway's contribution is part of a German-led battalion battle group. The first Norwegian forces came into place in 2017, and Norway has since had various contributions from the Army. In 2022, the Armed Forces will have a mechanized company with a tank capacity of about 140 personnel. The contribution helps to maintain and further develop the close army cooperation with Germany and the Netherlands. The eFP force in Lithuania also has contributions from Belgium, Iceland, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.