Liberals’ leader objects to US Marines at local base

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Trine Skei Grande, leader of the Liberal Party (Venstre), is really on a collision course this autum with the conservative government her party has an agreement to support. Not only is she unhappy with the government coalition’s proposed state budget, she opposes reported defense ministry plans to allow US Marines to be stationed at a military base at Værnes in her home district of Trøndelag.

“What the government is doing now, is to outsource the care of our country to American Marine soldiers,” Grande told news bureau NTB. “I don’t like that at all.”

Local newspaper Adresseavisen reported last week that the Norwegian defense department is preparing to accommodate 300 US Marines at Værnes. Critics are uneasy, fearing that not only would that provoke Norway’s Russian neighbours, but it would also make Norway’s own army and civil defense troops a lower priority in long-term defense plans now being hammered out in Parliament.

The opposition Labour Party, however, is positive towards the plans apparently put forward by the Conservative Party, which leads Norway’s minority coalition government with the Progress Party. The latter, meanwhile, is skeptical, indicating tension with the minority coalition.

The Socialist Left party (SV) is totally opposed, and reportedly walked out of a meeting last week on the issue. SV also wants to cut the number of new fighter jets Norway is buying from US defense contractor Lockheed Martin, while the Liberals want to postpone parts of the purchase. staff