The Norwegian government has lately been under mounting criticism from both the political opposition and from the public, which have accused the cabinet for much rhetoric and little action.
Mr. Stoltenberg strongly rebuffs the criticism. –This government has really put the High North on the map, he stresses in an interview with newspaper Nordlys.
-This is about putting the High North on the international agenda, and also northern Norway will benefit from this. We are talking about a generation-long job, the premier said.
In the interview, Stoltenberg also says that infrastructure investments will be high on the government’s agenda in the time ahead and that it will be reflected in the new National Transport Plan.
Oil and gas
Commenting on oil and gas projects in the region, the prime minister says he is disappointed about the technical problems in the Snohvit project in the Barents Sea. The Norwegian government is a major stakeholder in the project through its ownership in operator StatoilHydro.
Mr. Stoltenberg does not want to give any signals regarding the possible opening for oil and gas exploration in the vulnerable Lofoten area, saying that the issue will be elaborated on in a new management report to be presentd in 2010. The premier also does not want to speculate whether Norway will start oil and gas exploration in the waters around Spitsbergen and in the northern parts of the Barents Sea.