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Norway’s blue-green government with a labour market focus

Norway’s blue-green government with a labour market focus

| Text and photo: Björn Lindahl

The Liberal Party is the new party in the Norwegian government coalition. Prime Minister Erna Solberg has also reshuffled some of her government ministers. Five out of six main points in the new government’s political platform are about the labour market.

“It has been 12 years and three months since we were last in government,” said Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande after having been made Minister of Culture.

She received a lot of flowers as she emerged from the Palace after the new government had held its first meeting with King Harald. The Liberal Party has also got the Minister of Climate and Environment as well as the Minister of Research and Higher Education.

The government’s most controversial politician, Sylvi Listhaug from the Progress Party, has also been given more power. In addition to being responsible for immigration, she is now also Minister of Justice. But she has had to hand integration issues over to the Conservative’s Jan Tore Saner, the new Minister of Education and Integration.  

The Liberal Party and the Progress Party are diametrically opposed when it comes to immigration policies. That conflict has now moved into the government, whose main task – according to the negotiated political platform – will be to “adapt Norway’s economy in order to create new growth, new jobs and create a more diverse economic platform”.

One of the new government’s aims is to improve labour market integration. Since the Progress Party has mostly been keen to put the brakes on immigration, it might be an advantage that a different party gets the responsibility for integration.

Anniken Hauglie carries on as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. She wants to rewrite the tripartite agreement on an inclusive working life, the IA agreement, which the government reached with the social partners. The agreement has three goals: Lowering sick leave, getting older people to work for longer rather than retire and to get more people with physical handicaps into work. There has been particularly little progress on the last point.

“The government will call for a dugnad for inclusion in order to get more people into working life,” reads one of the points in the political programme.

Dugnad is the Norwegian word for when everyone helps out in order to reach a common goal.

Solberg, Skei Grande

Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande

Yet to start off, the new government will need to show determination in a different area: How to handle the many complaints of sexual harassment directed at central politicians

Half of the press conference where Erna Solberg presented her new government ministers was given over to the #metoo revelations which have hit several political parties. So far the Labour Party’s deputy leader has had to resign, together with the Progress Party’s parliamentary leader. The Conservative Party has had to deal with the former leader of the youth party, who has had sex with a heavily intoxicated 16 year old girl, among other things.

The same day as she became Minister of Culture, the Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande said in an interview that she “is not an abuser” after rumours emerged about her in social media.

“All new government ministers must present all important issues which might damage the government. I have been speaking to Trine Skei Grande about the rumours. What was said remains between the two of us, but since she has now been named Minister of Culture, that should answer any questions,” said Erna Solberg.

Trine Skei Grande

is the Liberal Party leader, a centrist party with a strong environmental profile. In the picture above she has just succeeded getting her party into government. Behind her, Sylvi Listhaug from the Progress Party, whose portfolio now includes immigration and justice. The Liberal Party and the Progress Party are diametrically opposed when it comes to immigration policies.

Read about all the changes to the Norwegian government here


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