Foreign policy hardly mentioned in election campaign / News / The Foreigner

Foreign policy hardly mentioned in election campaign. Have Norwegian politicians too little time to discuss foreign policy at the moment, aren’t they interested in debating it at all, or are they just provincial? Whatever the reason, there has been an almost complete absence of a discussion in the run-up to next week’s general election. In a recent commentary in Dagens Næringsliv, Kjetil Wiedswang, a commentator for the paper, wrote that if anything is going to happen with Norwegian foreign policy in the next parliamentary term at all, then either FrP (the Progress Party) or SV (the Socialist Left Party) will need a clear majority by themselves. “That’s not going to happen, and consequently foreign policy won’t be an issue in the election campaign this time either.”

nato, norway, afghanistan, election, politicians, foreign, policy, provincial, eu, office, frp, sv, ap



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Foreign policy hardly mentioned in election campaign

Published on Monday, 7th September, 2009 at 21:20 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

Have Norwegian politicians too little time to discuss foreign policy at the moment, aren’t they interested in debating it at all, or are they just provincial? Whatever the reason, there has been an almost complete absence of a discussion in the run-up to next week’s general election.

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Photo: Leifern/Wikimedia Commons


Foreign to foreign policy?

In a recent commentary in Dagens Næringsliv, Kjetil Wiedswang, a commentator for the paper, wrote that if anything is going to happen with Norwegian foreign policy in the next parliamentary term at all, then either FrP (the Progress Party) or SV (the Socialist Left Party) will need a clear majority by themselves.

“That’s not going to happen, and consequently foreign policy won’t be an issue in the election campaign this time either.”

Are Norwegian politicians avoiding the issue, maybe?

All quiet on the eastern front

At a debate held by the parliament’s foreign politicians in Oslo last Friday, Norway’s involvement in NATO in Afghanistan was discussed. Iver Neumann, head of research at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Nupi), accused the politicians of avoiding an uncomfortable debate on the issue.

All that came out from this accusation was the possible relaxation of restrictions on where Norway’s soldiers are deployed, should there be a right wing government. The command would be left to NATO.

No more was said than that. Perhaps the issue was not avoided, but it was mentioned in the form of what could be seen to have been a half-answer.

.no to the EU

The subject of Norway and the EU received slightly more attention than Afghanistan.

Political feathers were extremely ruffled when it came to the two recent failed referendums on joining the EU; once in ‘72, and again in ’94. Wiedswang tells The Foreigner that they were traumatic for the country, and refers to his article from 2007 that explains the why the people voted against joining in more detail.

Aftenposten has obtained access to a report that shows Norway’s influence on the EU’s decision-making process is being increasingly marginalised.

“We need more of an active policy on Europe,” Wiedswang reports the politicians in the debate as chorusing.

A former head of the Foreign Office replied that the country does have an active policy, after the meeting was over:

“Little do these people know,” a diplomat from one of Norway’s EU neighbours sighed.

So perhaps the answer is that Norwegian politicians are parochial?

Wiedswang doesn’t think so. His opinion is that there is too much cross-party agreement about foreign policy, and thinks that perhaps it’s just as well that it won’t play a part this time either.

“It’s been boring enough as it is,” he writes.

Parts from Wiedswang’s commentary reprinted with permission from the author.



Published on Monday, 7th September, 2009 at 21:20 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: nato, norway, afghanistan, election, politicians, foreign, policy, provincial, eu, office, frp, sv, ap.





  
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