NATO Secretary-General and former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is the new head of Norges Bank.
The formal appointment was made on Friday. Stoltenberg is currently Secretary-General of NATO. He has previously been both prime minister and party leader in the Labor Party.
Stoltenberg was one of two top candidates for the new central bank governor position. He competed against Deputy Governor Ida Wolden Bache.
Deputy Governor Ida Wolden Bache will be interim Governor from March 1 until Jens Stoltenberg takes office.
The current central bank governor, Øystein Olsen, has asked to resign on March 1.
Stoltenberg will take office around December 1, but the exact date will be determined by the employment contract, the government stated on Friday.
Stoltenberg’s candidacy has been debated due to his close ties to the Labor Party and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The debate also flared up when it became known that the position of central bank governor was mentioned during two dinners which included Oil Fund chief Nicolai Tangen and Knut Brundtland. Støre participated in one dinner, and Stoltenberg participated in the other.
However, the Legal Department of the Ministry of Justice and Emergency Management has stated that Stoltenberg is not unfit for the position of central bank governor.
In its assessment, the Department wrote, among other things, that it is difficult to see how Stoltenberg, in his role as central bank governor, “would deal with matters that could give Prime Minister Støre personal benefits, even if it can not be completely ruled out.”
Parliamentary majority remains skeptical
A majority of the parties in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) have nevertheless been critical of Stoltenberg as potential new central bank governor, partly due to informal dinners and contacts he had with Støre in relation to the Norges Bank job.
A number of parties signaled before the appointment that they would ask the Storting’s control committee questions about the appointment of process, regardless of who gets the job.
Norway’s central bank governor chairs the bank’s Executive Board and is the general manager of the central bank’s operations. In addition, he or she chairs the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee.
Formally, the governor also has the day-to-day responsibility for the bank’s management of the Oil Fund, but the Executive Board has chosen to entrust this task to the Oil Fund chief.
Jens Stoltenberg is taking over from Øystein Olsen, who took office as governor on January 1, 2011, and announced in August 2021 that he would resign in February 2022.
Source : © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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