Debate on Party Leaders: Storing in the Rødt Gorge

ARENDAL (VG) Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre harshly attacked Rødt during the party leadership debate in Arendal. – It is not market forces that cause chaos – it is Vladimir Putin who is causing chaos in Europe, Støre said.


Updated less than 20 minutes ago

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Ap) points out that the electricity system served Norway well before the war.

– They talk as if this war doesn’t exist. Therefore, to compensate, we spend up to NOK 40 billion. This is to address a crisis that is here and now, says Støre.

– It is not market forces that devastate, it is Vladimir Putin who devastates Europe.

It goes to the gorge of FRP and Rødt:

– They are against anything that should produce more power. And Moxnes is also against climate solutions. This is connected: responsible politics, we must produce more power and we must support those who struggle to foot the bill.

He was interrupted by slogans

When Guri Melby (V) was about to give a speech, she was interrupted by two people shouting slogans.

– Declare a state of emergency for the climate, a man shouted several times.

– Life for profit, cried a woman.

In the end, Melby still got the job. Activists were turned away from the hall.

Activist group Extinction Rebellion took responsibility for the incident in a press release shortly after.

– When the authorities fail, we have a duty to remind you that you have earned our trust to solve the enormous climate challenges we face. We must also remind you that this trust exists only as long as we citizens trust you. Now this confidence is broken, says Susanne Lone, one of those who participated in the action, in the statement.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Here the debate is interrupted by the slogans of the hall.

Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine has been a topic for many of the party’s leaders, including Melby:

– We will not only solve a price crisis for Norwegian consumers, but we will also solve a climate crisis. Moxnes is luring us into a trap set by Vladimir Putin, he said.

Moxnes replied with his own accusation against Putin:

– The left is falling into Putin’s trap. They accept that the consequences of Putin’s gas restriction will spill over to Norwegian consumers, he said.

Strøm is the main topic of Norwegian politics right now – and the only topic in an hour and a half debate between party leaders in Arendalsuka.

Electricity prices are steadily rising: Thursday, the highest ever electricity price was reported in southwestern Norway for the second consecutive day, which on average it exceeds five crowns per kilowatt hour.

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FRP leader Sylvi Listhaug wants a maximum price for electricity and is not afraid of rising inflation.

– Get started and do your job! Either you can do it, or you can do something else. Norway needs a government that does the job, Listhaug tells finance minister and SP leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.

– Now we get clear advice from the professionals. The use of oil money will raise prices even more, and this is what Sylvi Listhaug denies. She is an opponent of the financial vaccine, Vedum replied.

Fear of rationing

Neither does Støre feel for FRP and Rødt’s desire for a maximum price for electricity:

– If it worked, I would have introduced it that day, Støre said.

He was joined by Guri Melby of the Liberal Party:

– I say like Støre, that if the maximum price had worked, I think we would have introduced it. But the challenge is that the maximum price risks significantly worsening the situation. If there’s one thing I’m most afraid of at high prices, it’s electricity rationing, if we have to ask companies to shut down because we don’t have enough electricity, the liberal leader said.

RED SIDE: Une Bastholm in her last debate as party leader before stepping down after the weekend, alongside Rødt’s Bjørnar Moxnes.

Melby challenges Rødt leader Bjørnar Moxnes as to which countries will sell electricity to Norway only when we need it and not otherwise.

– Which countries do you think, Bjørnar, want to sell us electricity just when it suits Norway?

As long as there is money to be made, countries will sell energy to Norway, he replies.

– I think everyone here would have liked to have a maximum price if it worked, says Finance Minister and PS leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.

We need safe and sound solutions, he says, and warns against experimenting with something you don’t know works.

LADY OF THE DEBATE: Olaug Bollestad (KrF) at the end of the debate.

– Save Putin gets what he wants

Program leader Fredrik Solvang began by asking party leaders which of them thought it was a mistake to lay the last two cables overseas.

Støre defended the cables:

– It served us well, Støre said.

Erna Solberg (H) also defended cables, stating that high prices are much higher than cables:

– The experts calculated it well. 10 percent of this can be explained by the cables. In any case, we would have had 90 percent of this increase here, and so we need to be careful not to turn complicated issues into mere comparisons, Solberg said.

Liberal Party leader Guri Melby also defends the cables. He says it’s good that Norway has the opportunity to both export and import electricity.

– I fear Putin will get what he wants: that countries in Europe will start taking care of themselves and arguing with each other, he says.

– We are in an extreme situation. We are in crisis in Europe.

BLUE SIDE: Guri Melby (in blue jacket), alongside Sylvi Listhaug and Erna Solberg – also in blue.

Vedum: It needs to take more control

Center party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum defends the cables to some degree. Norway is completely dependent on the power exchange and that is important for security of supply.

At the same time, he says Norway must take on greater national control over exports

– When we see the consequences of ever stronger links with the European electricity market, we need to take greater national control. Therefore, we cannot build foreign cables anymore.

– But obviously I wouldn’t vote for those cables now, Vedum said.

Kirsti Bergstø, who leads SV while party leader Audun Lysbakken is on leave, describes herself as “the old woman against the free flow of the current”.

– We need to take greater political control. We need to regulate and regulate exports based on supply considerations, Bergstø said.

– Chaotic

After the debate, Erna Solberg tells VG that she isn’t much wiser about what the other parties’ solutions are. She says the connection between power, stock and wires is one of the hardest topics to talk about.

– It was a bit chaotic at times, he says.

– Then it often happens that simple solutions are required, but this is a much more challenging area than simple solutions.

Guri Melby also defines the debate as challenging. She says she wishes they could talk a little more about the underlying causes, she says – and she also uses a vaccine metaphor:

– It does not solve the fact that people cannot pay their bills, but I think it is a little important to actually vaccinate ourselves against very easy solutions, because as complicated as the electricity crisis is, easy solutions will make the situation even worse.

WOMAN DEBATE: Guri Melby (V) didn’t get a 6 die roll from VG commentators, but had to make do with the 4 die roll.

Vedum says he hopes his Listhaug anti-vaccine comment came with a twinkle in his eye. To the message from him that he must do his job, he replies that it is what he does, but that it is complicated.

– I completely agree that I have to do my job. But then my job is a bit difficult now, and what I constantly think about is that middle and middle income people are particularly affected by high prices, she says.

Listhaug says he doesn’t think everyone fully realizes how difficult the situation is for difficult people and that they miss the government doing anything.

– It is clear that people are being robbed now – and it is not only the prices of electricity, but also the prices of food, fuel, interest rates that are going up. The sum is very difficult for many, she says.

Une Bastholm, who had her last debate with the party leader as the leader of the MDG, says she had more in mind.

– There are many things that I find very provocative: that you take a nationalist perspective in a situation where we have a global crisis.

EC JUBILEE: Actually the debate was supposed to start at 21:45, but it was postponed by a quarter of an hour due to EC athletics, where Jakob Ingebrigtsen won his second gold in three days.

The government has received harsh criticism from the opposition, which is eagerly awaiting a support plan for businesses as well. Thursday evening the Minister of Industry Jan Christian Vestre (Ap) confirmed to the VG. that this agreement will be ready in September.

Shortly before the debate, it became clear that there may not be enough time for all companies: solar company REC Solar, with 250 employees in Kristiansand and Porsgrunn, notified employees and authorities on Thursday that they will temporarily stop production for up to six months.

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