More ex-ministers find new jobs

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Norway’s former justice minister, Grete Faremo, and former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen, are the latest members of the country’s defeated left-center government  to take on new jobs. Both of them, like several of their colleagues, are going into the consulting business.

Justice Minister Grete Faremo has effectively put an end to any Norwegian efforts to help fugitive US whistle-blower Edward Snowden. PHOTO: Arbeiderpartiet

Former Justice Minister Grete Faremo is now becoming a paid consultant, like several of her former colleagues. PHOTO: Arbeiderpartiet

Faremo and Schjøtt-Pedersen, both from Stoltenberg’s Labour Party, are starting up their own consulting firms. Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported last week that Schjøtt-Pedersen registered a new company with the state directory of business in Brønnøysund that will “handle specific cases” to advise clients on how to deal with public authorities.

State quarantine rules mean Schjøtt-Pedersen legally can’t begin to work in his own firm until April 15, the date that marks six months since the former government actually stepped down following its defeat to a conservative coalition.

Former Justice Minister Grete Faremo is also emerging from six months of quarantine and has spent the time setting up her own consulting business as well. She intends to advise private and public clients within the fields of security, preparedness and personal privacy.

Health Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen faces protests from within her own government, over her response to hospital reform. PHOTO: Helsedepartementet

Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen was often under fire as both health minister and defense minister in the former left-center government. PHOTO: Helsedepartementet

Their former Labour Party colleague Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, who served as both health minister and defense minister in the Stoltenberg government, has taken a similar path but has signed on with an established firm instead of launching her own. After 37 years as a professional politician in Bergen and at the state level, Strøm-Erichsen will start working next month (when her own quarantine period ends) as a consultant for the firm Rud Pedersen.

“I look forward to go back to a normal job, where I’ll still be able to work with politics,” the 64-year-old Strøm-Erichsen told DN last month. “The difference is that I’ll work with political analysis and offer advice to clients who want to improve their dialogue with the authorities. I think that’s an important job.”

Kristin Halvorsen of the Socialist Left party (SV), meanwhile, has found a leadership position with The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board (Bioteknologinemnda). The former finance minister, who later became education minister, said she was asked to take over as head of of the board, which is charged with evaluating the social and ethical consequences of modern biotechnology and what kind of usage can promote sustainable development.

“Biotechnology is a very exciting theme which I’ve been interested in for years,” Halvorsen told newspaper Dagsavisen. She was appointed by the new government to the position, which will soon be advising on changes in biotech laws in Norway.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund