The Liberals demands protection against oil exploration

government liberal solbergErna Solberg (Conservatives) and the Liberal leader Trine Skei Grande. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

The Liberals demands protection against oil exploration in the North

The Liberals still require protection of Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja if the party is to enter into the Government, states party leader Trine Skei Grande.


– This is a immensely important issue to us, Grande tells NTB.

The Liberal leader was met with a long-lasting applause when she entered the pulpit at the party’s national assembly on Saturday. It was great excitement about which signals she would address regarding the question of whether the Liberals ought to be a part of the Government or not.

Friday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) presented a new Government cabinet with the least changes possible pending the decision from the Liberals.

Tre pilars

In her speech, Grande concluded that the Liberals must be heard in three distinct areas if Government cooperation is to be an option, namely: school, corporate policy and not in the least environment and climate.

– If we are to participate in a government project, the project must have clear objectives in these areas, says the Liberal leader.

In the climate policy three pillars must be in place:

  • Continued tax exemption for electric cars and a zero-emission concept for all types of vessels by 2030.
  • Make Norway less dependent on oil income, inter alia, liquidating incentive schemes aimed at the oil industry and protecting Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja (LoVeSe).
  • Global commitment towards renewable energy.


The Liberals has already won the battle on the protection of Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja for oil drilling. The question is now whether they can maintain the decision.

– It was a very important issue when we entered into a cooperation agreement, and at the same time one of the most difficult. Therefore I guess this will be a difficult issue this time as well, says Grande. At the same time, she refuses to comment on whether LoVeSe could be the case that ends the Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s dream of a blue-green Government.

The Government wishes to open LoVeSe for oil exploration, and the Minister of Energy,Terje Søviknes (Progress Party), recently stated that the party wants to open negotiations with the Labour Party for an impact assessment if The Liberals enters into opposition.

Labour are open to discuss utilizing parts of Lofoten for oil exploration.

No stated objections

Nobody at the Liberals National Assembly was willing to comment on any opposition to entering into the Government on Saturday.

– We deal with this internally, was their refrain.

A survey conducted by Vårt  land interviewing nine county councilors representing the Liberals reveals that none of them slams the door shut on a Government co-operation, but they will support the decision of the party leader and the National assembly.

– We are at our best when we are constructive and seek cooperation, Grande said in her speech to the National Assembly, in which she also noted that the Liberals, despite a meagre election support by 4.4 per cent, was the winner of the autumn’s electoral campaign.

– None of the other parties managed to boost themselves as much as us. The Liberals was the head over toes winner of the election campaign, according to Grande.

Altered circumstances

The Liberals former partners, The Christian Democrats, has already voted in disfavour of both seats in the Government council and a co-operation agreement with the Government. It is an altered situation that the Liberal’s National Assembly have to face.

In her speech, Grande concluded that a Government, whether it consists of two or three parties, must be able to secure majority in the Parliament.

Liberal grand old man, Odd Einar Dørum, interprets the statement as that the Liberals and Christian Democrats, in a ‘suitable and quiet way’, must find ways to cooperate.

– That is an important acknowledgment, he tells NTB.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today