[POL] I guess we don't need these guys on our side either


Veteran Member

Results of the US election may end up pushing Norway into the European Union, suggest political analysts, and even Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik is listening. He's long opposed EU membership, but sees a need for more international cooperation.

In a meeting with Crown Prince Haakon in the Prime Minister's office this week, Bondevik acknowledged that talks touched on what four more years of George W Bush as president can mean.

Bondevik, who's already called for the Bush Administration to show more international cooperation, noted that he worries nonetheless that trans-Atlantic ties may be weakened. Many, he suggested, may see a need for Norway to engage in stronger foreign policy cooperation with the European Union, also in security matters.

That, Bondevik acknowledged, may influence his own view on the EU. Norwegians have narrowly turned down EU membership, first in a referendum in 1972 and against in 1994. But the issue keeps coming up, and recent polls have showed Norwegians favoring EU membership.

Bondevik repeated, meanwhile, that he hopes Bush will pay more attention to the United Nations, as well as to the troubles in the Middle East.

Former Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland has long advocated that Norwegian membership in the EU would help contribute to putting some checks on the power of Washington. Newspaper Aftenposten, which had supported John Kerry's bid for the White House, also picked up the theme in an editorial late this week.

Aftenposten wrote on Thursday that "the situation in the US can mean that those of us here in Norway see a stronger need to coordinate our foreign and security policies with the EU."

The newspaper went on to write that the US election outcome "can revitalize our national EU debate, not that we have any illusions that this may decide the question of membership."

Cooperation with the US is important, the newspaper added, since the US "is today, the world's most important country." That doesn't mean Norwegian politicians should hesitate to speak up about political directions they don't like, Aftenposten wrote:

"It's important that the US hears from its friends... (and) that we stand firm on the importance of international cooperation, international law and the danger of going it alone."