Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen today signed a letter of intent to participate in a multinational cooperation on procurement and operation of a fleet of strategic tanker and transport aircraft.
The signing took place during the EU Defence Ministers meeting where she attended the meeting of the Board of the European Defence Agency EDA.
“We want to look at the possibilities of cooperation with several EU countries on joint procurement and operation of tanker and transport aircraft. With the difficult economic situation in Europe, it is increasingly important that we find and exploit opportunities for collaboration across borders, the so-called smart defense,” says Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.
The Minister on November 19attended the formal meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels, where they also met as the board for the European Defence Agency EDA. They discussed further cooperation on capability development.
Also signed was an agreement on diplomatic clearance of military transport aircraft in Europe. The agreement will simplify and harmonize regulations between countries, which will both strengthen the capacity and be time-and cost-saving initiatives, and help to strengthen European cooperation.
This is the first time a Norwegian defense minister has been invited to participate in a meeting of the European Defence Agency. Norway has since 2006 had an agreement with the agency and actively involved in several projects.
The invitation to attend the Nov. 19 meeting should be seen as a result of Norway's active involvement and concrete contributions to developing defense capabilities at the European level. These are capabilities that will enhance both the Norwegian and European security.
Through cooperation in EDA framework, Norway is an important foothold in multinational cooperation capacity, where European allies and partners are participating.
Collaboration with the EDA also gives Norway a greater engagement with developments in EU security and defense policy.
The defense minister also attended the Nordic-Baltic Defence Ministers meeting. The themes of the meeting were Nordic-Baltic cooperation in Afghanistan, veterans, education, training and exercises, and joint efforts in defense-related security sector reform.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Although it has published three separate statements on the outcome of the Nov. 19 ministerial and the meeting of its board, the European Defence Agency only mentions the above Letter of Intent in passing: “A Letter of Intent on a European Strategic Multirole Tanker Transport initiative, prepared under the lead of the Netherlands, was signed during the Steering Board.”)