Espen Barth Eide was Minister of Defence from November 11, 2011 to September 21 2012.
He was State Secretary (Deputy Minister) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) from June 2010 till November 11, 2011. He also served as State Secretary in the MFA in the first Stoltenberg Government (2000-2001), and was State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence from October 2005 to June 2010. He represents the Labour Party, which is the largest party in Norway’s three-party coalition government. He is responsible for international security policy, the UN, NATO, the OSCE, European security issues, humanitarian affairs, international operations and bilateral relations with North America, Russia, Asia, and Africa.
In his position as State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Mr Eide was responsible for international security issues, national defence policy, arms procurement and defence reform. He was also in charge of the political process that led to the recent choice of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as Norway’s new combat aircraft. He has furthermore been actively engaged in raising the issue of the Arctic/High North on the Norwegian, Nordic and NATO agendas and is engaged in interministerial cooperation on the development of Norway’s policy on Afghanistan and other ongoing operations.
Since 2001, Mr Eide has been a member of the Presidency of the Party of European Socialists (PES), a European political party comprising social-democratic parties primarily from European Union member states and the second largest party group in the European Parliament. In the PES, he has particular responsibility for foreign affairs.
Mr Eide was a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) from 1993 to 1999 and Director of the Department of International Politics at NUPI from 2002 to 2005. As a researcher, he focused on issues ranging from international peacekeeping and UN reform to European, Arctic and transatlantic security. He was engaged in a number of international programmes, many of which were in the interface between academic research and policy development.
Over the last two decades he has had several assignments for the UN, including responsibility for directing the policy review on “integrated missions” commissioned by the UN Secretariat in 2004. Mr Eide also served as an expert adviser to the High-Level Panel on UN Reform, which completed its work in 2005.
Before the last referendum on Norwegian EU membership, in 1994, Mr Eide worked in the European Movement for the Norwegian “Yes” campaign, holding the positions of project manager and acting Secretary General of the Norwegian European Movement.
Mr Eide was selected as a “global leader of tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum at its annual meeting in Davos in 2003.
Mr Eide studied at the Universities of Oslo and Barcelona and has a graduate degree in political science. He is married and has three sons.