Norwegian ‘no way’ to EU ministerial meetings / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian ‘no way’ to EU ministerial meetings. It appears as though Norway is determined to stay outside the EU’s political arena. Absenteeism at ministerial meetings in Brussels is common, reports Aftenposten. Jens Stoltenberg claims his government has an active European policy, but Norwegian ministers have attended just 6 of the European Parliament’s 25 informal meetings they were invited to in the first six months of 2010. “Participating at these meetings is time-consuming, and sometimes ministers feel other matters are more important,” says Erik Lahnstein, the Centre Party’s (Sp) State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD).

eu, parliament, norway, ministers, meetings, erik, lahnstein, centre, party, foreign, affairs, dagfinn, hoeybraathen, christian, democratic, ine, marie, eriksen, soereide, conservative, party



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



News Article

LATEST:

Norwegian ‘no way’ to EU ministerial meetings

Published on Tuesday, 9th November, 2010 at 11:45 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 9th November 2010 at 20:24.

It appears as though Norway is determined to stay outside the EU’s political arena. Absenteeism at ministerial meetings in Brussels is common, reports Aftenposten.

European Parliament
European Parliament
Photo: Ssolbergj/Wikimedia Commons


My way, or Norway?

Jens Stoltenberg claims his government has an active European policy, but Norwegian ministers have attended just 6 of the European Parliament’s 25 informal meetings they were invited to in the first six months of 2010.

“Participating at these meetings is time-consuming, and sometimes ministers feel other matters are more important,” says Erik Lahnstein, the Centre Party’s (Sp) State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD).

State Secretaries and senior level officials attended a total of 14 other meetings, whilst the Norwegian Chair remained empty on 5 occasions. Iceland’s recent volcanic eruption was blamed for 3 of these.

Securing invitations is no simple matter, with Norway’s non-membership of the EU often used as a counter-argument, according to UD sources,.

Insular

However, attending the meetings is extremely important. Resolutions often become part of Norwegian law in accordance with the1994 EEA Agreement.

A high-level official with long experience argues that representatives must be well prepared, and avoid talking about what is just best for Norway. This is often a challenge.

“Convincing and relevant arguments are listened to. We have often gained when working in this way [however,] ministers are naturally-drawn towards domestic matters,” says the source.

Opposition politicians are not impressed by the ministers’ attendance record.

“We have to participate in the arenas available [to us] if the government’s active European policy is to have any content. We must be present if Norway is to be seen and heard,” says Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, the Conservative Party’s (H) head of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Leader of the Christian Democratic Party (KrF) Dagfinn Høybråthen calls on Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to galvanize his ministers into action.

“Norway is dependent upon active participation in cases where we operate on a political level. The government is not doing its job here; it is simply neglectful. I do not doubt there can be good reasons for ministers not travelling in individual cases, but it is not good for Norway as a whole,” he says.





Published on Tuesday, 9th November, 2010 at 11:45 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 9th November 2010 at 20:24.

This post has the following tags: eu, parliament, norway, ministers, meetings, erik, lahnstein, centre, party, foreign, affairs, dagfinn, hoeybraathen, christian, democratic, ine, marie, eriksen, soereide, conservative, party.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!