Former State Secretary Espen Barth Eide (Labour Party)

Born: 1964

Former State Secretary (Labour Party)

Espen Barth Eide is the Deputy Minister of Defence (State Secretary), a position he has held since 2005. He represents the Labour party, which is the largest party in Norway’s three-party government coalition. He is responsible for international security policy, UN, NATO and EU issues, international operations, national defence policies, armaments procurement, and defence reform. Among a number of major programmes, Mr. Eide was in charge of the political process that led to the recent choice of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as Norway’s new combat aircraft as the first country outside the US to make this choice. He has furthermore been actively engaged in raising the issue of the Arctic/High North on the Norwegian, Nordic and NATO agendas, and he is engaged in the inter-ministerial development of Norway’s policies on Afghanistan and other on-going operations.

Mr. Eide served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2000-2001, responsible for security policy, Norway’s relations to Europe, EU, NATO and OSCE affairs and bilateral relations to European states as well as the US, Canada and Russia.

Eide is a Member of the Presidency of the Party of European Socialists (PES) (since 2001), the party grouping of the social democratic parties in the European Union and the second largest party group in the European Parliament. In PES, he has a particular responsibility for foreign affairs.

Mr. Eide was a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) from 1993-1999 and a Director of the Department of International Politics at NUPI from 2002-2005. As a researcher, he focused on issues ranging from international peacekeeping and UN reform to European, arctic and transatlantic security. He was engaged in a number of international research programmes, often in the intersection between academia and policy development.

Over the last 15 years he has had several engagements with the UN, including directing the policy review on “integrated missions” commissioned by the UN secretariat in 2004. Mr. Eide also served as an expert advisor to the High-Level Panel on UN Reform that concluded in 2005.

Before the last referendum on Norwegian EU membership, in 1994, Eide worked in the European Movement for the Norwegian “Yes” campaign, holding positions of project manager and acting Secretary General of the Norwegian European Movement.

Mr. Eide was selected as a ‘global leader of tomorrow’ by the World Economic Forum at its annual meeting in Davos in 2003.

Mr. Eide is a political scientist (Cand. Polit), educated at the Universities of Oslo and Barcelona. He is married and has three sons.