Other topics to be discussed include defence and security policy, the High North and regional issues, including issues outside of Europe.
The programme created for the Storting members includes meetings with the UK parliamentary committees on defence and foreign relations, additional meetings at the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a meeting with the National Security Adviser and a meeting at Chatham House. The visit also includes discussions with independent experts and with the Norwegian Embassy in London.
The meetings provide an opportunity for the committee to collect analyses and engage in broad-ranging dialogue about Brexit at a time when negotiations over an exit agreement from the EU are said to be in the final stages. The meetings are also a chance to discuss the effects of Brexit-related issues on Norway’s bilateral cooperation with the United Kingdom.
The UK is one of Norway’s most important trading partners and its largest export market. For Norway the most critical aspect of Brexit is the UK’s departure from the EEA Agreement and all other agreements that currently govern Norway’s relationship with the EU and EU member states. Almost all aspects of Norwegian-British relations will be affected in this way.
Britain is also one of Norway’s oldest and closest security and defence allies in Europe. The backbone of British security will remain NATO and the country’s strong national defence.
“Our meetings have centred on the demanding situation Britain now faces with regard to its future relationship with the EU,” says Anniken Huitfeldt, Chair of the Norwegian committee. “Conversations with British members of government and our parliamentary colleagues help us to achieve a better understanding of the situation around implementing Brexit and the alternatives being discussed, as well as the consequences for Norway.”
She adds: “The talks have also highlighted the closeness of our two countries in terms of our values and objectives in foreign and security policy, and the desire we both have to maintain strong, broad-based bilateral relations. Some of our British hosts also expressed a desire for expanded cooperation with Norway in defence affairs and the northern areas.”
Other agenda topics during the two-day visit to London include developments in the Middle East, the Iran agreement, relations between the United States and China, the situation in Afghanistan and relations with Russia, China and the United States.
The following committee members are taking part in the trip: Anniken Huitfeldt, Chair (Labour Party), Michael Tetzschner, First Vice Chair (Conservative Party), Christian Tybring-Gjedde, Second Vice Chair (Progress Party), Trond Helleland (Conservative Party), Hans Andreas Limi (Progress Party), Ingjerd Schou (Conservative Pary), Martin Kolberg (Labour Party) and Jette F. Christensen (Labour Party).
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.