BRUSSELS (VG) Jens Stoltenberg continues in NATO – and will not become governor of the central bank. – Nothing is more important than securing peace, he said.
– That’s because I feel that at this time to concentrate fully and completely on the task in NATO, said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg when he met the Norwegian press in Brussels on Thursday afternoon.
– We have a brutal war going on in the fourth week with long term consequences for our security. It’s the most important task in my life.
Stoltenberg said he received inquiries last fall and this winter to continue.
– Then I said no because I was ready for a new and important task. But when Russia invaded Ukraine, I felt it was impossible, that I had no choice but to continue.
Asked to continue
– When did you decide?
– I made a decision a few days ago. This is because I have said no several times to continue. Then it became clear last week that Biden was coming to Brussels and there was an additional summit.
Stoltenberg said that once again there were questions from key leaders in NATO.
– This makes the whole situation more urgent, and there is an urgent need to take another stand.
1 of 3Photo: Gisle Oddstad
He has previously said that the central bank governor job is a dream job.
– I was very motivated for the task and because of that I applied for the job. But what has happened since then is a war in Europe that continues and will permanently change our security. The new normal for the world we live in.
Stoltenberg said he was motivated for the job:
– Nothing is more important than securing peace, said Stoltenberg.
He would not say how long he would stay in NATO.
– We can take one thing at a time. This is my third time being extended. That’s quite a distant perspective for me, so I’ll see what happens after that.
– Were you asked to resign from your central bank position?
– It was clear to me that if I continued in NATO, I would not take over as head of the Norges Bank. NATO deserves a leader who is 100 percent present and not on his way to anywhere else.
– The decision is connected: Say yes to NATO, say no to the central bank.
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On Thursday, all of NATO’s leaders met for the first time since the start of the war – one month since Russia invaded Ukraine.
According to Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party), it was US President Joe Biden who at the closed-door meeting put forward a formal proposal that Stoltenberg’s term as NATO Secretary General should be extended for another year.
But that he should step down from his position as central bank governor, according to VG information, should be news to Støre on Thursday as well.
Wolden Bache becomes new central bank governor
In February, the government defied criticism and appointed Stoltenberg as the new central bank governor. There was great excitement about who should get the job.
Several parties announced early on that they planned to issue control over the hiring process.
Støre told VG that the Minister of Finance will now arrange for acting central bank governor Ida Wolden Bache to be nominated as central bank governor for a six-year term. He had already clarified that he would accept that.
In recent weeks, Stoltenberg has said several times that his plans will end up in NATO as planned on September 31 this year. Just over a week ago, he said that he had plans to return to Norway this fall, and was therefore irrelevant to continuing in NATO.
– I got a job in Norway which I plan to take at the end of the year. This was the plan all along, Stoltenberg replied after a question from VG at a press conference.
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