When I was elected President of the Storting, which is what we call the Speaker of Parliament in Norway, in 2013, I only had a brief idea about what the Parliament’s international collaboration entailed. Since I took office, however, I have experienced that cooperation and communication between Parliaments around the world is a crucial component in international politics.
The Storting – the Norwegian Parliament – is at the core of Norwegian democracy. Sharing our democratic experience is therefore one of my most important tasks when I go abroad, when I take part in international seminars and meetings and when I receive international guests in my Office.
When politicians meet in international fora we exchange ideas and know-how, and we usually return home wiser than when we left. The fact is that we don’t necessarily sign agreements or produce results that you can actually see and touch. So what do we do, you might ask. My experience is that we create arenas for discussion, we create arenas for cooperation and we create arenas for democratic Development.
Meetings with my colleagues from around the world have brought me to realize that no democracies are perfect; we are all trying to develop and improve them. Some democracies are old, some are young. Some countries are struggling to keep democracy intact, others are struggling to introduce democracy. No matter where we are on the democratic ladder, I believe we can draw on each other’s experience. In other words, inter-parliamentary collaboration is crucial to democratic development around the world.
In this blog I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about the values of the Norwegian Parliament, and highlight such common European principles as the rule of law, democracy and human rights through the channels of inter-parliamentary cooperation and through contributing to international parliamentary processes. My ambition is to do my utmost to reinforce these values, through my work, through meetings, through visits and through my day-to-day contact with the world around me. My blog posts will be my reflections on these activities.