Barth Eide: Norway must look towards Germany and the Nordic region
Espen Barth Eide believes that Norway must build closer ties to Germany and Scandinavia, and that Europe must stand on its own feet as long as Donald Trump is the president of the United States.
After four years outside the government offices, Eide now makes comeback in Norwegian politics. He does not want to comment on possible ministerial posts himself, but is a natural candidate for the position as a Minister of Foreign Affairs if the Labour Party wins the election. If that happens, he can help to change the course in Norwegian foreign and security policy, writes Klassekampen.
– We need to make closer ties to some friends we have not put so much emphasis on in this field, he said.
He lists Germany, the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and “perhaps even France” as countries Norway should cooperate more closely with.
– The United Kingdom is always a friend, but their place in the world is changing very much now. Germany is on its way up as a leading international player, while the UK is a bit confused at present, so to say.
Problems without the United States
The search for new friends has been highlighted after the NATO summit in Brussels in late May. It is especially the United States and President Donald Trump’s role that raises doubt about NATO’s article five – the principle that attacks on a NATO country should be considered as an attack on the entire alliance.
Eide says that the European countries are having trouble leading high-intensity war without US capacities.
– The European countries have a lot of military materiel and equipment, but lack the ability to use it without the Americans. In European cooperation, we need to look at how we can ensure that we do not always need the United States in every operation.
Sweden and Finland
He uses the term “strategic depth” – a military expression of the geographical distance from the front to key strategic areas – to explain one of the benefits a Nordic cooperation can provide.
– If we could look more closely at a kind of defensive community including Sweden and Finland, it can provide a strategic depth that we have not been able to calculate with earlier, says Eide.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today