NATO chief and former PM Stoltenberg eyes Norway central bank top job

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, whose contract expires next year, is in the running to take over as head of the Norwegian central bank, the country's finance ministry said on Tuesday.

Pictured is NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's former PM and NATO's chief, pictured above, has thrown his hat in the ring for the top job at Norway's central bank. Photo by Bertrand Guay / POOL / AFP

Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister and finance minister, is one of a list of 22 candidates for the position, which becomes vacant in February, the ministry said in a statement.

“The finance ministry contacted me in November to see if I’d apply for the job. I did it, it’s a position that motivates me hugely,” the 62-year-old told AFP via his press office.

Stoltenberg has headed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 2014 and his contract expires on September 30, 2022.

The current governor of Norges Bank, Oystein Olsen, steps down in February.

“I made it clear to the finance ministry that if I get the job, I wouldn’t be able to start work until the end of my NATO mandate on October 1st,”
Stoltenberg said.

Also in the running is the central bank’s vice president, Ida Wolden Bache, another candidate asked to apply by the finance ministry with a background in economics and finance. But a number of students, a plumber, pensioners, a baker and a bus driver have all thrown their hats in the ring too.

The finance ministry will announce its decision at the beginning of next year.  The Norwegian central bank sets monetary policy for the Nordic country and also manages its massive sovereign fund, the world’s biggest. The governor is appointed for a six-year term.

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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.