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Norway’s Defence Minister resigns over affair with young woman

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told reporters that he wished to find a new defence minister as soon as possible.

Norway's Defence Minister resigns over affair with young woman
Norway's now former defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen resigne after details of an affair with a much younger women came out. (Credit: Marita Isaksen Wangberg, FD)

Norway’s government announced Saturday that defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen was resigning following revelations that he had a years-long affair with a much younger woman.

“It is a necessary decision, after what has surfaced in this matter,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told a press conference where he confirmed that he had accepted Enoksen’s resignation.

“I have made several bad choices and judgements, and will give an unreserved apology for the fact that my actions have made life more difficult for others,” Enoksen told news agency NTB earlier on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Norwegian minister resigns over commuter housing scandal

Enoksen started the affair in 2005 when his partner was still an 18-year-old high school student, according to daily VG.

Her class went on a school trip to Norway’s parliament in the capital Oslo and met the Centre Party politician, who was 50 at the time.

After the school trip she and Enoksen started what would become a very close and sexual relationship, VG wrote.

The woman, now in her 30s, detailed their relationship to the newspaper, saying she felt starstruck by Enoksen due to her interest in politics and that he “used his power and position to get what he wanted”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Norway’s border with Russia

According to the woman, they met at least 12 times in Enoksen’s office between late 2006 and 2007 while he was the energy minister, with some of the meetings involving “sexual acts”.

While Enoksen confirmed to VG that she had visited him in his office and said there might have been some talk of a lewd nature, he denied there was any physical aspect.

He instead claimed they did not become intimate until after he left the government in 2007, and stressed that the relationship was not one “where I was in a position of power over her”.

Prime Minister Store told reporters that Enoksen had not informed him about the affair before he was appointed defence minister following last year’s general election, adding the information would have led to a “different conclusion”.

Store added that he wished to find a new defence minister as soon as possible.

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POLITICS

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. 

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