The parliamentary finance committee is unanimously committed to keeping the ethics council attached to Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, according to sources. The government proposed disbanding the current council and integrating all ethics work into the branch of Norges Bank that manages the Oil Fund, but now even members of the Conservative-Progress Party coalition are reportedly against the move.
The finance committee has almost finished its report on the government’s proposed changes to the fund’s management structure. After several weeks of negotiations, newspaper Aftenposten reported on Friday that the opposition parties have now convinced Conservative (Høyre) and Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) members to retain the separate ethics council, contrary to their own government policy. The coalition’s support parties, the Liberals (Venstre) and Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti, KrF), both opposed the shutting down of the ethics council from the outset.
“If the Conservatives and Frp have turned and a broad parliamentary majority now wants to retain the ethics council, we are very happy with that conclusion,” said the Liberal’s finance spokesman Terje Breivik.
The committee will submit its report on the proposed changes on Tuesday. Aftenposten reported it’s expected to agree that decisions to withdraw the Oil Fund from individual companies should move from the Ministry of Finance to Norges Bank. The ethics council should be kept and its members still be appointed by the ministry, but it would directly advise Norges Bank.