Norwegian Prime Minister Støre explains to his guest Olaf Scholz that new gas deposits would have to be explored to increase production. There is also disagreement over banning Russians from entering the EU.
According to Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway currently has no way of expanding its gas supplies to Germany and Europe. “Norway offers the most we can offer,” Støre said Monday in Oslo, after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Production increased by nearly ten percent. Nor is it up to the Norwegian government to decide whether production can be safely expanded.
“We can’t decide politically, we just do more.” This is a company decision. For greater production, new gas deposits would have to be explored. Scholz also stressed that he is already very grateful that the Scandinavian country has expanded production since the Russian attack on Ukraine. It is important to say that Norway wants to maintain the high level of production because there will also be high demand in 2023. Previously, there were hopes that Norway, like the Netherlands, could replace more gas from Russia.
The EU imports around 20 percent of its gas from Norway. In Germany, the share of Norwegian natural gas is now around 30%. The country thus overtook Russia as the most important supplier country. Currently, only about 20% of the promised volume comes from Russia via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Debate over an entry stop for Russians
Despite Scholz’s skepticism, Finland is now pushing for an EU entry ban for Russian tourists. “Russian citizens did not start the war, but at the same time we have to make it clear that they support the war,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Monday night at a summit of the heads of government of the five Nordic countries with Scholz. in Oslo. “I don’t think it’s right that Russian citizens can enter the EU, the Schengen area and tour as tourists while Russia is killing people in Ukraine.”
Marin received support from her Danish colleague Mette Frederiksen. Scholz, on the other hand, maintained his rejection of a blanket entry ban and referred, among other things, to Russian citizens who are fleeing the Putin regime. “All the decisions we make must not make it more complicated for them to seek freedom and leave the country to escape dictatorship in Russia,” he stressed. “It’s not the Russian people’s war, it’s Putin’s war.”
Until now, people from Russia’s political and economic leadership have been banned from entering the EU. In addition to Marin, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also spoke out in favor of an extension last week. In Oslo, Marin called for a discussion of this at the European Council. Frederiksen expressed understanding for the position. “I think it’s understandable that some Europeans and maybe especially some Ukrainians find it a little strange that Russia has attacked a European country and at the same time we are receiving tourists from that country that has attacked another country,” said the Social Democrat. “I think we should discuss this.”
Scholz travels to Sweden
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson advocated joint EU action on this issue, but neither did Støre.
In the evening, Scholz wanted to travel to Sweden, where he will meet Prime Minister Andersson on Tuesday morning for a private conversation. This is followed by a visit to truck manufacturer Scania, which is working together with Volkswagen on concepts for the electrification of truck traffic.
The visit to Stockholm will also address the expansion of NATO. Finland and Sweden want to join the western defense alliance. 23 of the 30 member states have already agreed, including Berlin. Among others, however, Turkey is still missing, which has long blocked the admission process and linked its approval to conditions.