17 Nov 2011By GERARD O'DWYER DefenseNews
HELSINKI - Espen Barth Eide, the former defense secretary at Norway's Ministry of Defense (MoD), has been appointed defense minister following a reshuffle of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's labor government in the wake of the resignation of Justice Minister Knut Storberget.
Storberget's departure came after months of criticism over the shortcomings in the ability of the national police and the security agency to prevent or properly respond to the July attacks by extreme right-wing home-grown terrorist Behring Breivikh, which resulted in the bombing of Oslo's commercial center and left 77 people dead.
The change sees the departure of Grete Faremo from defense to a new appointment as the minister of justice and the police with responsibility for emergency preparedness and crisis response.
Eide is perhaps best known for his role in strengthening Norwegian political and military relations with Russia during his time with the MoD (2005-2010), when he became state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.