Wednesday, May 18

– Feels confident in the appointment

On Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was appointed the new Governor. He joins the post after resigning from NATO.

Stoltenberg himself confirmed at the press conference on Friday that he is still a member of the Labor Party, and has no plans to resign.

– Everyone knows that I am a social democrat, no matter what, he argued.

Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp), who is chiefly responsible for the appointment, believes it is not problematic.

– Not much difference

Vedum points out that freedom of association, which is strong in Norway, also applies to the central bank governor.

– Everyone knows his background in the Labor Party, so there is not much difference between whether he is a member or not, Vedum says to TV 2.

– But is it not more orderly to opt out, and not pay a membership fee to a governing party?

– There is no doubt about the independence of Norges Bank, and not of NATO even when Stoltenberg has been NATO chief. You can not be part of the party political work.

Vedum points out that we in Norway have clear legislation which states that Norges Bank is independent of the Storting and the government.

– Stoltenberg has shown over time that he has a good understanding of roles, and understands what role he is in now, says Vedum.

FREEDOM OF ORGANIZATION: Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) believes that freedom of association means that Jens Stoltenberg must be able to be a Labor Party member, also as central bank governor. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB

The Storting warned

A majority of the parliamentary parties warned the Ministry of Finance against hiring Stoltenberg, due to his previous political role.

– I feel confident in the appointment, but of course I follow what is said in the Storting. It is part of the public discourse that there can be debate, says Vedum.

He believes Stoltenberg’s background with various roles will be a significant advantage in his job as central bank governor.

New impartiality assessment

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party), who is close friends with Stoltenberg, said on Friday that he will ask the law department in the Ministry of Justice for a new assessment of his impartiality in various areas as prime minister.

– It is because he wants to be tidy also in the future. There may be some issues that affect the central bank that he should not be a part of, and that is “precautionary” thinking of Støre, says Vedum.

– It is wise, and that is how we do it in Norway to be on the safe side, he believes.

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