Jonas Gahr Støre
Jonas Gahr Støre was born in Oslo in 1960; he studied political science at Sciences Po in Paris. From 1986 he was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School in the Harvard Negotiation Project, and later worked as a Researcher at the Norwegian School of Management. He joined the Labour Party in 1995, after serving as a Special Advisor in the Prime Minister’s office.
He was an Ambassador in the Norwegian Delegation to the United Nations’ Geneva Office and also served as an Executive Director at the World Health Organization and as Secretary General of the Norwegian Red Cross (2003-2005).
Støre served as Foreign Minister from 2005 until 2012 and Minster of Health from 2012 to 2013. He presently also serves as a Member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, and as a member of the parliamentary delegation for Relations with the European Parliament.
Støre takes issue with Prime Minister Solberg on some aspects of EU policy. He does not see the EEA as an “EU membership without the international influence”, emphasizing that the EEA has helped Norwegian economy to grow and that the government retains the right to exempt itself from the introduction of certain laws (such as the EU’s agricultural and fishery policies). He is neutral on the question of whether Norway should become a fully fledged EU member state or not, regarding this as the people’s choice.
Støre wants Norway to take an active role when it comes to a balanced and mutual nuclear disarmament within the framework of the NPT (Non-proliferation Agreement) with a long-term goal of an international ban on nuclear weapons. He wants Norway to have a leading role in international disarmament by putting pressure on the nuclear powers. He advocates a conciliatory approach towards Russia and argues for a position “between” NATO and Russia. Støre aims to increase Norway’s NATO contributions from its current (approximately) 1.6% to the full 2%, but will not set a date for achieving this target.
On the issue of climate, Støre’s wish is to reach the goals set by the Paris accords, save the rainforests, and make Norway a leading country when it comes to the financing of climate change initiatives and climate change adaptation in developing countries. He wants to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international air travel and shipping, and make Norway carbon neutral by 2030 by cutting national emissions and international quota procurement from the EU. He has been openly sceptical about a joint plan of reaching the environmental goals set by the EU, citing the unclear role of the EEC in the goals. Ultimately he wants to make the agreement a part of the EEC framework.
In an article in Aftenposten Støre wrote: “The world has a great need for more food, renewable energy and value creation for a rapidly growing population. The ocean probably has the answers to many of the biggest challenges the world faces.” Støre wants Norway to be a world leader in fishing and fish farming, energy and the development of new food sources.
On the issue of expanding Norway’s oil production, Støre wants to compromise by commissioning impact assessments for the oilfields along the northern Norwegian coast and giving new areas in the region National Park status, but leaving the option open for expanded drilling rights. This has been a particularly contentious topic in Norwegian politics in the past years because of the potentially devastating consequences on the environment and wildlife in the Northern and Barents seas.
When it comes to aid, Støre wants to build a development policy based on social democratic values such as freedom, equality, democracy and solidarity. He also wants to use at least 1% of gross national income for aid, and stresses the importance of the impact and quality of this aid. He argues that too much is currently wasted though funding projects that produce little or no results. The Labour party aims to target aid where it can make a difference and where Norwegian efforts can trigger other cash flows that contribute to development.
On the immigration crisis, Støre argues that the current challenges warrant more European cooperation, not less. He urges caution and moderation on Norway’s reaction to TTIP and Brexit, preferring to wait and see what the actual consequences of these decisions will be and to respect the choices of other sovereign nations.
The Labour Party describes itself as committed to social-democratic ideals, traditionally seeking a strong, tax-funded welfare state. Since the 1980s, the party has been described on a number of occasions as increasingly neoliberal: it aspires to be a progressive party that focuses on deepening cooperation both on the national and international level.
We were unable to get a personal response from Mr Støre to our ‘standard questions’ but we received the following replies from Odd-Inge Kvalheim, International Secretary of the Labour Party:
GV: If you are elected, what will you do for the rest of us, around the world?
OIK: The Norwegian Labour Party has a strong commitment to international engagement. We will strengthen our developing cooperation, and re-instate a Minister of Development. We will work hard to strengthen multilateral cooperation in this time of flux and uncertainty, for a common effort to meet such global challenges as climate change, a well regulated free trade regime, conflict and humanitarian crises, disarmament and poverty.
GV: What is your vision for your country's role in the world?
OIK: Norway is a small country, but can play a significant role internationally. We can play a strong role in meeting specific challenges, in areas where we have competence and expertise - such as in disarmament and peace and reconciliation work. The Norwegian Labour Party puts a particular importance on strengthening the international efforts to safeguard the health of the oceans – a key source of more food production and resources in the future. The ocean within Norway's jurisdiction and economic zone amounts to six times our land mass, we have strong competencies within our industries, academic- and research institutions; and are well placed to spearhead such an effort.