‘Parts of Europe’s southern and eastern neighbourhood are still severely affected by fragility and conflict . Much of the Sahel region, for example, remains unstable and provides a breeding ground for a variety of threats ranging from extremism to state collapse. The Government has therefore proposed a substantial increase in funding for these areas,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The Government’s budget proposal for 2019 includes an increase in funding for countries and regions affected by conflict and fragility of NOK 374 million, giving a total of NOK 706 million. Most of this support will go to Africa and the Middle East.
‘War, conflict and poor governance are exacerbating poverty and creating significant humanitarian needs. It is much better to provide assistance now than to wait until the situation has deteriorated further and the crisis has grown even greater,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
The Government intends to increase Norway’s contribution to finding common European solutions by providing support to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). The Fund seeks to address the root causes of irregular migration, to combat smuggling networks south of the Mediterranean and to promote the return of migrants and their reintegration into their home countries. The proposed allocation to the UN Migration Agency (IOM) will help to improve migration management.
The Government has also proposed an increase in support for efforts to promote democracy and economic development in Eurasia, including Ukraine, Moldova, and the countries of the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia.
‘Many countries located in the transitional region between Europe and Asia are affected by fragility and problems such as weak economic development, high unemployment rates, widespread corruption and weak governance. The Government is therefore proposing an increase of NOK 85 million for efforts in these areas,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
The Government will also increase funding to combat security threats such as organised crime and extremism by NOK 30 million, an increase of 10 % from 2018.
The proposed increases in the allocations for Norway’s efforts in countries and regions affected by fragility, global security issues and democratic and economic development are a direct follow-up to the recent white paper on Norwegian foreign and security policy (Meld. St. 36 (2016–2017) Setting the course for Norwegian foreign and security policy).
(Press release – MFA)