Norwegian Government intends to increase project support to Western Balkans

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Strengthening rule of law, cooperation and reconciliation, development of sustainable economies and strengthening of civil society will be prioritized areas for Norwegian aid in the upcoming years. Thursday April 20th, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry presented “veivalg” meaning “roadmap” - a recommendation to the Parliament about future Norwegian foreign policy and security policy in a changing political climate.

In 2015, the Government initiated a project to review of the whole breadth of Norway’s security policy and determine its future course. Over the last 18 months, the project has provided opportunities for a broad public debate on the main lines of Norwegian security policy, and has gathered input from Norwegian and international experts. This work has culminated in the white paper on the future course of Norwegian security policy, which aims to update Norwegian policy in the light of the more serious and unpredictable security situation we have today. Below is an excerpt from the white paper in English:

"The Norwegian Government intends to increase project assistance to the Western Balkans in order to support the countries’ reform-programs and thereby accelerate integration into the EU and NATO, in line with the countries’ own ambitions. Strengthening rule of law, cooperation and reconciliation between the countries, development of sustainable economies and strengthening of civil society will continue to be prioritized areas for Norwegian support. We will continue longstanding traditions for cooperation on defense and defense reform. More attention will be devoted towards measures against religious radicalization.

A number of Western Balkan countries have made significant progress the last years, but stability cannot be taken for granted. Integration into the EU, which has been widely supported, is moving slowly. Unemployment levels are high, corruption is widespread and the living standards are poor. External actors who do not wish for European integration are becoming increasingly more active. They cooperate with local forces who see it as beneficial to play on national and ethnic disparities to maintain the status quo. "

 

 

Read the full white paper (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/meld.-st.-36-20162017/id2549828/