Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway’s longtime foreign minister who’s now serving in parliament after his Labour Party lost government power, has been named a co-winner of the Willy Brandt Prize. He’ll be sharing the prize with the former foreign minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Støre and Steinmeier won the prize, awarded annually by the Norwegian-German Willy Brandt Foundation, for their work in furthering foreign policy relations between Norway and Germany. The foundation also cited their “new thinking” and development of foreign policy regarding the Arctic areas.
The prize is awarded every year by the board of the foundation, which is led by MP Sverre Myrli and includes veteran politicians Einar Steensnæs and Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide as its Norwegian members. Søreide, from the Conservative Party, is now Norway’s defense minister.
Støre and Steinmeier were also cited for their work in furthering energy partnerships between Norway and Germany, which resulted from initiatives they took in 2006.
The prize will be awarded in Berlin on December 2 in honour of the late German chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Willy Brandt, who took his name while living in exile in Norway in the 1930s. He became a Norwegian citizen, after fleeing to Sweden during World War II, until he reclaimed German citizenship after World War II. Brandt maintained close ties to Norway and his fluency in Norwegian, also after becoming mayor of West Berlin and, ultimately, German chancellor.
Støre was Norway’s foreign minister for seven years in the former left-center coalition government, and consistently won the highest public ratings for his ministerial work. A former head of the Norwegian Red Cross, Støre took over as health minister late last year after years of crisis at Norway’s hospitals.
He’s now a Member of Parliament for Labour, which now is the largest opposition party after a conservative coalition won Norway’s parliamentary elections in September.