Heated discussions expected on Solberg’s billion-kroner carbon storage project

Erna SolbergPhoto: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB

On Saturday, Progress Party (FRP) leader Siv Jensen reminded Erna Solberg that she was in charge of a minority government, while the Labor Party (AP) didn’t want to promise a majority for the government’s NOK 2-billion investment in carbon capture.

Solberg revealed on Saturday that the government would set aside NOK 2 billion for carbon capture in the state budget for next year.

FRP is against the project, but the matter is so important that Solberg announced that the government could seek a majority from other parties.

However, AP’s energy politician Espen Barth Eide told news bureau NTB that Solberg cannot easily get a budget majority in the opposition, and that Solberg must seek support from the FRP to get a comprehensive budget through.

At the same time, the FRP stated that they are still against the investment.
“It may be good to remind the Prime Minister that she is leading a minority government and that she needs a majority for the entirety of the state budget. Now, FRP is waiting to see what’s in the budget that will be presented on Wednesday, and we have not finished our alternative state budget yet,” FRP leader Siv Jensen told NTB.

Unreasonable use of money

She stated that the FRP was against the government investment in the “Longship – capture and storage of CO2” project.

“It is unreasonable for Norwegian taxpayers to foot most of the bill and risk in this project. The FRP is concerned with ensuring that we do not waste taxpayers’ money, I initially thought that Erna and Høyre were too,” Jensen said.

Espen Barth Eide believes there may be some heated discussions between the government and FRP.

He did not want to promise support for the budget proposal, even though he emphasized that the AP and a large majority of the Norwegian parliament (Storting) are in favor of the project.

“We will present proposals on this in our alternative budget, but it is not the case that we are the government’s budget partner,” Barth Eide told NTB.

A new parliamentary situation?

He believes the Prime Minister must come to the Storting and explain that there’s a completely new parliamentary situation if FrP says “no.”

“We do not have a situation with an independent government that slaloms downhill and gets a case-by-case majority. If it wants to organize itself completely differently, we will have a completely different parliamentary situation. Then the government must come to us and say that, but I have not heard any sign that this is the solution. They have to settle this in the chamber with the FRP, and I think this is one of the topics there will be fresh discussions about,” the AP politician said.

Barth Eide added that it is in Storting’s interest that there is a majority to spend money on a project that is widely supported.

He thinks it’s disappointing that the FRP is opposing the project.

“We’ll see how it goes when an allegedly climate-ambitious government stays on with the FRP as a training wheel,” he added.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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