Tuesday, January 25

Støre failed to mention contact with Stoltenberg in an NTB interview

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) insists that he has not discussed his job as central bank governor with Jens Stoltenberg. But the topic was mentioned all in October.

Former Prime Minister and Labor leader Jens Stoltenberg (right) together with incumbent Prime Minister and Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre. This picture is from 2014, when Støre took over as Labor leader after Stoltenberg.

In another statement TV 2 On Monday, Støre explains that Stoltenberg informed him on 24 October that he might be interested in the position as central bank governor.

“I replied that this is a topic we can not talk about in that case since I as prime minister will be incompetent. Since then, we have not talked about or had contact with the topic “, Støre writes to TV 2.

Støre, on the other hand, failed to mention this contact when NTB interviewed him about the case in December.

Støre now emphasizes that the case was mentioned while the two went for a walk in October, but he will not define this as a conversation.

Støre and Stoltenberg are close friends, and in recent weeks there has been a lot of attention around Stoltenberg’s application. Among other things, it has emerged that Stoltenberg discussed the job as central bank governor in a private dinner with, among others, the oil fund manager, where the host was a close friend of both Støre and Stoltenberg.

It is the government that appoints the new central bank governor. In addition to Stoltenberg, there is one other applicant for the job who is considered qualified. It is the current Deputy Governor, Ida Wolden Bache.

Two questions

The interview with NTB took place on 15 December, just after the Prime Minister’s traditional half-yearly summary press conference before Christmas.

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Someone has had dinner together

Støre was asked two questions about the contact with Stoltenberg.

Below is a verbatim transcript of NTB’s audio recording from the interview:

– Have you discussed the position as central bank governor with Jens?

– In the.

– No. So you’ve never had a conversation about that?

– No. When this appeared in the media, that he could be relevant, as a speculation, I immediately contacted the Cabinet and said that if it should happen, which I had not been confirmed, then I as Prime Minister will not be able to participate in the treatment of it.

Further in the interview, Støre explains that the case is in the Ministry of Finance, but that it will end up on the government’s table in the end. Then he will be incompetent.

This is how he explains the answers

NTB has asked the Prime Minister why he in the interview on 15 December failed to mention the contact that took place on 24 October.

Støre then refers to the wording of NTB’s question, where he was asked whether he had “discussed” or “had any conversation” about the case with Stoltenberg.

– Stoltenberg and I went for a walk on Sunday 24 October, when he mentioned that the position as central bank governor could interest him. I then immediately said that this was a topic we could not talk about now that I was Prime Minister. I would be incompetent in light of our friendship. It closed the case, and we have not talked about it in any context since, Støre says in a written statement to NTB.

– The contact that TV 2 now mentions was not stated by the Prime Minister in the interview with NTB on 15 December 2021. Why not?

– Because we have never discussed any aspects of the question of his candidacy. Like others, I became aware that he was a candidate through the media and had no conversation with him about this.

– Was the information about the contact on 24 October 2021 deliberately omitted by the Prime Minister in the answers to NTB on 15 December 2021?

– No, the short reference from our trip in the woods on October 24 was far from a conversation, it was a topic that was parked there and then.


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