Monday

26th Sep 2022

Norway: Oil war puts end to Støre's dream of safe rule

  • Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre will have to form a minority government (Photo: Arbeiderpartiet)
Listen to article

Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre will have to form a minority government with Senterpartiet (Center Party) in Norway, after SV (the Socialist Left) left negotiations.

An election in mid-September gave Støre's Arbeiderpartiet (Socialdemocrats), Senterpartiet, and SV a majority.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the coalition that ruled Norway for eight years when Jens Stoltenberg was prime minister, could not agree on a platform.

SV left the room because they felt the other two parties were not ambitious enough in two areas.

SV wanted to stop explorations for new oilfields and increase taxes for those in the highest income brackets.

A majority government involving the three parties had been Mr. Støre's preferred choice, but Senterpartiet and its leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum had always argued for leaving SV out of the coalition.

And with SV having left the room, political commentators in Norway unanimously scored this round as a win for Senterpartiet.

The questions that now remain are: how much this has hurt Støre's standing as a leader of the coalition? And whether Arbeiderpartiet, which has 48 seats in parliament to Senterpartiet's 28, is really running the show?

Climate and oil - big issues

During the election campaign, climate change and the future of the oil and gas industry became a hot topic. The trade unions, which are close to Arbeiderpartiet, did not want to stop exploration. Senterpartiet held the same position.

But large groups of younger voters, such as those who make up Arbeiderpartiet's youth organisation AUF, wanted to phase out the oil industry. Climate is an issue where having SV in the coalition would have made it easier to balance the various demands from voters.

The parties who called for the most radical climate policy did not have tremendous success in the election.

MDG (the Green Party) surprisingly failed to break the 4-percent threshold, which would have more than doubled their standing in parliament.

SV did better than four years ago, but not as well as polls suggested before the election.

Venstre (Liberals), the climate-friendly party on the right, did slightly better than in 2017 - 0.2 percent better to be exact.

But these results did not mean that climate was not a top issue for voters. Almost all political parties claimed climate change was one of their top priorities.

Now they must deliver - and that will be a challenge for Støre.

Looking for a majority

Senterpartiet and Arbeiderpartiet government will be nine seats short of a majority in parliament.

When SV left, Støre underlined that the two remaining parties will keep SV as their preferred partner during budget negotiations.

Contrary to the situation under former prime minister Erna Solberg, whose first coalition government in 2013 had the support of Venstre and KrF (a Christian party), there will not be a political agreement between a Støre government and their preferred negotiating partner.

SV says it will be an opposition party and try to push the government to the left.

On the other hand, Senterpartiet might also look at negotiating with other parties in the centre, such as Venstre and KrF, when it is convenient. But this will be difficult politically, because these two parties have either supported or been part of Solberg's coalition for the past eight years.

Støre's goal is that a new government can take office on 15 October.

Author bio

Alf Ole Ask is EU correspondent for Energi og Klima, and a former Brussels and New York correspondent for Dagens Næringsliv and Aftenposten.

All-time high for Norway's oil and gas production

Norway currently has 90 oil and gas-producing fields, which could rise to more than 130. One way that harms the shift to a greener economy is because offshore wind and the burgeoning hydrogen industry are competing for the same workers.

Feature

Nordic parliaments agree mutual defence on cyberattacks

A cyberattack against one of the Nordic parliaments will be seen as an attack on them all, MPs at the annual council of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland agreed this week.

Finnish border guards will allow fleeing Russians to enter

Finland says there has not yet been a dramatic increase in Russian nationals trying to enter Finland from Russia, noting just over 4,800 Russian nationals crossed the land border on the day of Vladimir Putin's announcement of the draft.

Column

Give Russians more visas — not fewer

It would be unwise to stop letting Russians in. Europe's aim is to stop the war in Ukraine and for Russia to withdraw completely from Ukraine. And that can only happen if Russian citizens start resisting the war.

Supported by

News in Brief

  1. More Russians now crossing Finnish land border
  2. Report: EU to propose €584bn energy grid upgrade plan
  3. Morocco snubs Left MEPs probing asylum-seeker deaths
  4. EU urges calm after Putin's nuclear threat
  5. Council of Europe rejects Ukraine 'at gunpoint' referendums
  6. Lithuania raises army alert level after Russia's military call-up
  7. Finland 'closely monitoring' new Russian mobilisation
  8. Flights out of Moscow sell out after Putin mobilisation order

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  5. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling

Latest News

  1. Ireland joins EU hawks on Russia, as outrage spreads
  2. Editor's weekly digest: Plea for support edition
  3. Investors in renewables face uncertainty due to EU profits cap
  4. How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes
  5. 'No big fish left' for further EU sanctions on Russians
  6. Meloni's likely win will not necessarily strengthen Orbán
  7. France latest EU member to step up government spending in 2023
  8. Big Tech now edges out Big Energy in EU lobbying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us