German-Norwegian security and defence cooperation has a long tradition and in recent years military relations have developed considerably – in international operations such as ISAF and currently in Iraq, as well as in the joint commitment to NATO's reassurance measures in Eastern Europe. Together with Germany, Norway has contributed to NATO's new rapid response force VJTF and will contribute to the Alliance's 'Enhanced Forward Presence' in Lithuania. The discussions in Oslo emphasised similarities in German and Norwegian approaches to both crisis management and collective defence, but differences resulting from size, geographical location, institutional affiliation (EU), and historical experience were also highlighted. There can be no doubt, however, that both countries share a strong commitment to a rules-based international order and rely on NATO as the principal framework for their security and defence.
The workshop opened with perspectives on the changed security environment and a discussion on the recently published White Papers. What are the implications of Germany's new willingness to take more international responsibility as laid out in the White Paper on German Security and the Future of the Bundeswehr? And what does the
Norwegian Long Term Defence Plan have to say about
the role of smaller member states in the Alliance?
In the following panels the dialogue concentrated on two themes that are central to German and Norwegian security concerns: the issue of how to deal with Russia, including the balance between deterrence and dialogue; and the Euro-Atlantic security architecture after the Brexit referendum and the US presidential elections. Burden sharing and the need for a sensible division of labour between NATO and EU were among the key topics.
The meeting in Oslo marks the start of a series of three workshops. The next workshop will take place in Berlin early next year. It will address other topics of mutual concern and look in more detail into possible areas for increased cooperation.
At the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, the German-Norwegian security dialogue is part of the research programme Security and Defence in Northern Europe (SNE). For more information, contact Robin Allers email@example.com
Summary by Robin Allers