The Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee travelled to Svalbard on Sunday 6th September. As the Storting’s committee with a special remit for matters concerning the archipelago, the objective was to discuss various issues relating to further development on Svalbard.
Of prime importance during the two-day visit was to find out how COVID-19 has affected life on Svalbard. The committee also wanted to learn how the Governor, the local authorities, business, and research and educational institutions are experiencing the current situation, and to hear their views on the way ahead.
While there, the committee was informed about the Norwegian Coast Guard’s search and rescue work in the area around Svalbard, and visited the science park and the satellite station.
“The coronavirus has hit Svalbard particularly hard. We want to make sure that it remains a sustainable society and a good place to live, with lots of safe jobs. The Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee has primary responsibility for Svalbard in the Storting. This is why it is especially important that we are here now and can talk to those who are directly affected by the crisis. Our trip has also given us the chance to mark the centenary of the Svalbard Treaty, and to discuss Svalbard’s longer-term challenges and opportunities,” said Anniken Huitfeldt (Labour), committee chair.
The MPs who took part in the visit were:
- Anniken Huitfeldt (committee chair), Labour Party
- Michael Tetzschner (first vice chair), Conservative Party
- Ingjerd Schou, Conservative Party
- Trond Helleland, Conservative Party
- Audun Lysbakken, Socialist Left Party
- Liv Signe Navarsete, Centre Party
- Trine Skei Grande, Liberal Party
- Marianne Marthinsen, Labour Party
- Jette F. Christensen, Labour Party
- Hårek Elvenes, Conservative Party
- Geir Sigbjørn Toskedal, Christian Democratic Party