The Nordic areas are at the top of the agenda for Erna Solberg when she arrives at the White House.
On Friday President Barack Obama will welcome Prime Minister of Norway and the other Nordic leaders to a summit at the White House in Washington.
“Coordination of Arctic issues” are among the topics the Americans have put on the agenda along with security and climate, and this is also Solberg’s (H) main focus.
– My goal is something I believe to be very important to Norwegian defence policy, which is attention to the maritime, Atlantic dimension. It is important to call attention to this area’s importance in a new security situation, she says to the news agency NTB.
The Prime Minister will also use this opportunity to call attention to USA of the Norwegian position as a country outside of the EU.
– We are concerned that Americans should keep in contact with Norway. It is important for us to be visible, for the American governement far too often view EU and Europe as synonymous, Solberg says.
– Now that the EU and the US are negotiating a free trade agreement, this is especially important. Because if not, we run the risk that there will be more negative consequences of such an agreement to us.
Solberg thinks the summons to the meeting reflects that the US “is committed to ensuring good friendship with like-minded countries”, and she believes the Nordic countries are considered to be important partners for advancing much of Obama’s agenda.
She thinks there are many benefits to hold the meeting together with like-minded Northerners, but also would not have minded being the only Nordic Prime Minister in the White House.
– It’s a particular pleasure being the only politician from outside of the US to meet the president, but then you would probably not get 90 minutes of the president’s time and a great dinner, Solberg says.
The White House has declared that the meeting on Friday emphasizes the US ‘continued commitment to European security. ”
The US has for years been Europe’s guarantee of security. But now the Republican probable presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has created doubts about the commitment by saying that Americans should spend less money on NATO.
– I do not think that USA will withdraw from NATO, says Solberg.
– We have a more unpredictable and more self-conscious Russia, the United States will still be concerned about that. And then the countries at the Russian border are incredibly important.
– And Europe is still the best ally they have in almost all international issues they are concerned about, the Prime Minister said and believes a discussion about less international involvement is more the rule than the exception in the US presidential election campaigns.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today