When the Conservative (Høyre) and Progress (Fremskrittspartiet, FrP) parties formed a new conservative government last September, ousting Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet, Ap) leader Jens Stoltenberg’s regime, FrP leader Siv Jensen famously shouted “goodbye Jens” to rapturous applause from gathered supporters. Now that the Norwegian Parliament will be farewelling Stoltenberg for good following his appointment as the new NATO Secretary General, Jensen took the time to congratulate her political sparring partner.
Jensen, now the Finance Minister, was asked at an international press conference in Oslo on Monday how relieved or happy she was that Stoltenberg was out of the Norwegian political scene. “First of all I’m very proud of his appointment to NATO,” said Jensen. “I think he’s going to do a great job.”
“You have to remember even though we compete in Norwegian politics, we’re also good friends,” she added. “I think he’s a very good candidate, he’s very experienced and he will do a good job on behalf of NATO countries. But of course it will represent some sort of vacuum I guess for the Labour Party, but they will figure that out.”
Jensen was asked if Stoltenberg would make a better Secretary General than prime minister. “No no no, he was a good prime minister as well. I mean, we disagree on taxation issues and on a lot of things.” Did she anticipate Norway’s military budget would increase in light of Stoltenberg’s appointment? “No, I won’t comment on budget issues,” Jensen laughed.