Wednesday, October 27

The red-green idyll may break out on Tuesday. Red lobbies Labor on controversial EU rail package.


Red presents proposals to reverse adherence to the rail package. What do Støre and Vedum reply?

Challenge or accept the controversial rail package? Rødt’s Bjørnar Moxnes (back) proposes that the Støre government reverse the recent decision.

On Tuesday, Rødt’s leader, Bjørnar Moxnes, will present a proposal to repeal the EEA Committee’s decision on September 24 to register Norway in the controversial EU rail package IV.

– We believe that Norwegian railways should be controlled from Norway and not from Brussels. When a majority of the population gives a parliamentary majority against the privatization and division of the railroad, we must have a policy in line with that.

– This will be the first test for the Støre government. Was it just a talk or does it mean seriously exploring the leeway in the EEA deal? Moxnes asks.

The proposal is: The Storting calls on the Government of the EEA Committee to take the initiative to revoke the decision on the incorporation of the legal acts included in the EU railway package IV.

The rail package has made a long journey through various political arenas since 2016. The Solberg government proposed that Norway join the EU’s common European rail area. Both the Labor Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the MDGs and the Red Party voted against. But in June, the Storting gave the green light to the rail package by 44 to 42 votes.

The most controversial consequence is that future rail contracts must be tendered.

– The problem is that the package can lead to tenders forever. It is undemocratic and inefficient for a proper investment for the railroad, Moxnes believes.

– More Catholic than the Pope

– You do not trust that the Støre government will solve it?

– We have some experience that the Labor Party can be more Catholic than the Pope in EU terms. The proposal gives them the opportunity to prove otherwise.

– What will happen if they don’t vote in favor?

– It will be a big splash in the belly and a betrayal of both the voters and the union movement. We assume that they remain faithful to what they have said before the elections, also after the elections, Moxnes responds.

With the proposal, Rødt wants to obtain important political clarifications:

  • If the Labor Party and the Støre government vote against it, it shows, according to Rødt, that the Labor Party’s promise to use so-called room for maneuver is just empty talk. And that Sp, who is an opponent of both the EU and the EEA, has been run over by the Labor Party from the first second in government.
  • If the Støre government votes in favor of reversing the rail package, it will be up to the EU to decide whether to take into account the new red-green multiple in Norway. Either the government manages to remove Norway from the directive or the EU refuses. According to Rødt, the latter shows that Norway is bound and bound by EU directives even when most want to repeal them.
The controversial iron package could be a test of whether the Støre government will be more critical of the EEA deal.

Across many sands

In the new Storting, there is a large red-green majority against the rail package. Shortly after the elections, the opposition asked the Solberg government to postpone the introduction of the package.

The government responded that it has a duty to implement the decisions made at the Storting. It took place on September 24 at the EEA Committee, where the EEA / EFTA states and the EU meet.

Moxnes believes that the Solberg government carried out a “political robbery.”

– That such limitation of the possibilities of new parliamentary majorities has been made by an outgoing government without a majority in the Storting, is very problematic. In addition, we believe that legal acts will impose on a new government a policy that gives many actors and fragmentation, lamentable use of resources, pressures on wages and working conditions and that limit the political room for maneuver.

According to the LO Norsk Jernbaneforbund and Norsk Lokomotivmannsforbund unions, previous rail packages have contributed to worse working conditions, increased bureaucracy, rising wage costs, and more and more directors.

– The railway package will not solve, but will exacerbate these problems, believes Moxnes.

Silence in Hurdal

Neither Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre nor Social Democratic leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum will comment on the proposal.

– We will not address individual cases in the media at the same time we are in negotiations, says Sp communications manager Lars Vangen.

APS transportation spokesman Sverre Myrli previously promised to investigate what opportunities exist to dispose of the package.

It emphasizes that the Labor Party, the Socialist People’s Party and the Socialist People’s Party are politicians against the content of the railway package, mainly because the railway traffic must then be tendered.

– It is a policy that we believe is not suitable for Norway. But what can we do about it now that the formalities are that the Storting has approved Norway’s participation? Myrli asks.

On Tuesday we thus have the first test of what the conditions of cooperation will be like in the new Storting.


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