Counties meet for mediation

Storberget Counties Labour Troms FinnmarkKnut Storberget (Labour). Photo: Storinget.no

The two northernmost counties meet for mediation

The two parties are constructive, says mediator Knut Storberget (Labour), a few hours before Troms and Finnmark meet for mediation in the battle for the merger of the counties.

 

– It’s demanding matter, but I’m optimist by nature, Storberget tells NTB a few hours before the mediation starts at Gardermoen.

He has already had a lot of contact with the parties over the weekend.

There is disagreement between Norway’s two northernmost counties about the merger. Two weeks ago, the negotiations were interrupted when the Troms delegation marched out of a meeting in protest.

Thursday last week, the parties were called in by Minister for the Interior, Monica Mæland (Conservatives,), and on Friday, Storberget was appointed as mediator.

Turn every stone

– We have worked through some issues already, and I experience that the parties as being constructive, says Storberget, who says he will do his best to provide for a good mood in the room and that every stone will be turned.

The mediation begins Wednesday at. 8 pm and will last until 4 pm on Thursday.

– It’s too early to say if the case is resolved by then. The parties must be given the time that they need, says Storberget.

Among the contradictions is the appointment of a joint committee, which will, inter alia, be assigned the task of deciding the organization chart and political governance for the merged region, and not in least where the regional capital is to be located. Today, there are county administrations in Vadsø and Tromsø respectively.

– It is obvious that is talk about important jobs for both Troms and Finnmark, says Storberget.

Might break down

If the parties do not agree and the negotiations break down, it will be up to the ministry to appoint a joint committee.

– Then the counties lose the ability to control this themselves. But it is wise and valuable that local decision makers make most of the decisions, Storberget emphasizes.

The two counties are also fighting wheter the name of the region  to be Troms and Finnmark or Finnmark and Troms. The final decision lies with the Parliament (Stortinget).

 

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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