Norway’s new cabinet includes majority women and Utøya survivors

Norway’s new government was unveiled on Thursday by PM Jonas Gahr Støre, with his cabinet consisting of nine men and ten women, two of whom survived the 2011 Utøya massacre that claimed 69 lives.

Jonas Gahr Støre, pictured speaking to reporters following an event in Bergen, unveiled his female majority cabinet on Thursday.
Jonas Gahr Støre, pictured speaking to reporters following an event in Bergen, unveiled his female majority cabinet on Thursday. Photo by Arbeiderpartiet on Flickr.

Jonas Gahr Støre officially took over as Prime Minister of Norway on Thursday and unveiled his cabinet for the first time.

“This is a day I have been looking forward to,” he said, speaking to the press.

The cabinet for his minority coalition government formed with the agrarian Centre Party will consist of ten women and nine men. The Labour party will be represented in government with eleven ministers, while the Centre Party will have eight ministers in the cabinet.

Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum will be taking the plum job of finance minister.

“He has had a long career and is a steady politician. He has experience from the Starting’s (Norwegian parliament) finance committee in the last two terms. It will come in handy when he takes over the responsibility of finance,” the prime minister said of his Centre Party colleague at the unveiling.

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Among the newly minted ministers were Tonje Brenna, the new minister for education and Jan Christian Vestre, who will take the post as minister of trade and industry.

Both are survivors of the devastating Utøya attacks in which 69 people were killed by far-right extremist Anders Behring Brevik who targeted a youth camp run by the Labour Party’s youth wing, the AUF.

“We get two ministers who were on Utøya on July 22, and who helped to take AUF and the Labor Party forward. They were party builders – they are builders in this country politically. They have dedicated their lives to it,” Støre said of the party.

“Now that these talented young politicians are carrying this past with them, I feel that we have taken another important step and I am very proud of that,” he said.

Another eye-catching appointment was 28-year-old Emille Enger Mehl from the Centre Party, who takes over as Minister of Justice.

“She goes to a big job at a young age, but we are confident that we have a visionary and energetic politician,” Støre said of Mehl.

His predecessor Erna Solberg has wished him luck in the role.

“The most important thing to say today is good luck: Norway needs a government that is able to build our society in the future,” Solberg said.

Norway had women-majority cabinets twice before — — albeit briefly — under Jens Stoltenberg, Store’s predecessor between 2005 and 2013 who is currently the head of NATO.

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Norway and UK sign joint declaration on cooperation 

Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Støre met his UK counterpart Boris Johnson in London on Friday, where the pair signed a joint declaration on strategic cooperation between the two countries. 

Norway and UK sign joint declaration on cooperation 

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre visited Downing Street on Friday and met UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the pair signed a declaration of cooperation between the two countries. 

“Britain is a good neighbour and close ally. We have a long tradition of close cooperation. The British are now outside the EU, and bilateral cooperation is becoming even more important than before,” Støre said in a statement on the government’s website

The joint declaration on bilateral strategic cooperation outlines defence and security, the climate and environment, research and innovation and education and culture as issues the two countries wish to cooperate on in the future. 

Støre’s visit was the first bilateral meeting of the countries’ PMs since Brexit. The pair also discussed the green shift, the war in Ukraine and defence. 

Støre also arranged a round table conference on energy, the climate and business with the UK Minister of Trade, Kwasi Kwarteng, and a number of representatives from Norwegian and British firms. 

“The green transition is important for our two countries. I spoke about our great ambitions for offshore wind, and this is one of many areas where Norway and the United Kingdom can cooperate more,” Støre said. 

Earlier this week, the Norwegian government announced that it would build 1,500 offshore wind turbines by 2040

Last year, the UK and Norway signed a post-Brexit trade deal, which the Norwegian government said was the largest free trade agreement the country had entered into outside of its arrangement with the European Economic Area.