Norway’s Information Promise

On January 17th 2011 Norway’s Foreign Ministry published an Information Promise concerning communication and cooperation between Norway and the other EFTA countries and the EU. The goal of the promise is a more active, clear and open communication in EU affairs.

The Information Promise is based on the document St. meld. nr. 23, which is the Foreign Ministry’s guide line for Norwegian European politics.

Norway is not a part of the European Union, but has several ways of cooperation with it. Together with the other non-EU member countries, Iceland and Lichtenstein, Norway forms the European Economic Area EEA. As a result of the country’s justice and domestic policy, Norway is a part of the Schengen Agreement. The foreign and security policies are also guided by EU to some extent.

In the Information Promise the Foreign Ministry lists 65 concrete ways to make the communication better in EU matters. The actions include improving the Europaportal website and organizing seminars and workshops around the country, for example. The Foreign Ministry also calls for increasing contact with the Norwegian parliament concerning the European parliament. There will also be EU-related information brochures at public places.

A Peculiar Promise

Even though the list seems to be very concrete, not nearly all of the objectives are very concrete. Goals such as “tailored news letters” and “answering questions” are not further explained, so the goal remains vague. Where and by whom will these actions be taken?

Paavo Mäkinen, the Deputy Head of Representation at European commission representation in Finland says that the information promise more likely seems to be about domestic marketing than about a warmer attitude towards joining the European union. Because Norway isn’t officially considering joining the EU, Mäkinen finds the Information Promise peculiar.

“When Finland was considering joining the European Union, the goals were similar to Norway’s. The goals in Finland were funded by the EU, which is propably not the case in Norway”, says Mäkinen.

At least to a civil citizen the information is far from clear. When asked about the reason for publishing the Information Promise in the first place, the Foreign Ministry gives no clear answer. As a response to an email sent to State Secretary Erik Lahnstein there is a link to St. meld nr. 23 and to the piece of news concerning the publishing of the Promise.

Sanna-Katja Pohjalahti, Anne Ventelä

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One Response to “Norway’s Information Promise”

  1. peterverweij Says:

    Interesting but I am a little bit lost, What is the problem? and how do these goals mentioned to improve fit in. The links are interesting but in Norwegian, not much help for me. You include the EU perspective, but I don’t understand the point. You should have focused on the problem at the start of the story.
    You have to explain EFTA

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