After the invasion of Ukraine, the Green Party wants the government to punish Russia for expelling Norwegian state-owned companies from Russia and for throwing Russian companies off the Norwegian shelf.
– Power is the only language Putin understands. Norway is a small country, but there is a force we must use against Putin, which is in our oil and gas deposits and in our investments in Russia. MDG leader Une Pastolm tells VG that Norway must now do what it can to put economic pressure on Putin’s regime.
He hopes that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have an impact on Norwegian-Russian economic cooperation – especially in the energy sector.
“In response to Putin’s war, the government should instruct state – owned companies such as Equinor to withdraw completely from Russia,” Pastolm said.
MDG politician believes this could hurt Russia:
Equinor has had investments and cooperation in Russia for many years, and works closely with Rosneft, a Russian oil company with close ties to Putin. Last fall, Equinor and Rosneft announced carbon capture cooperation.
– The main part of Putin’s base of power is the energy sector. It is important that we do not contribute to the strengthening of the Russian oil and gas companies, until Russia forcibly uses its position as an energy hub through its bloody expansionist policy on Ukraine.
Norway should also consider exempting Russian companies from the Norwegian shelf and freezing existing Russian investments in Norwegian oil and gas operations, the MDG hopes.
– A company like Lukoil has close ties to the Kremlin and has invested in several research volumes in the Parents Sea. The company has also received millions of kroner paid by Norwegian authorities through a research refund scheme. Here, MDG hopes Norway will keep its feet down.
The government has previously refused to introduce so-called unilateral reactions against Russia, which would rather agree with the EU.
– Why should they break this line?
– We do not accept it. We see many European countries discussing direct sanctions, says Pastolm.
He says the MDGs have held a meeting with party leaders in the Greens in other EU countries, and that there are differences of opinion between EU countries on sanctions and types.
“We have to make an independent assessment of what is in our power and put pressure on Putin in this situation,” Pastolm said.
– Nothing to wait for yet. The invasion took place and Russia started a new war in Europe.
Oil funds must be expelled from Russia
It was the beginning of the year 27 billion Collective pension of Norwegians invested in Russian stock markets through the Petroleum Fund.
– In Norway it makes no sense for Europe to impose tough sanctions on Putin, while at the same time we are investing our pensions in stock markets in Russia. We hope Norway will announce immediately that we will sell out, Pastolm says.
– If we use petroleum funds in a political way as you propose here, how will it affect Norway and petroleum finances?
– The store has opened up something I think is really obvious: Petroleum finance is a political tool that we use actively or passively.
Bastholm refers to the ethical rules of the Petroleum Fund and believes that investments are already politically explained in the world.
– Even though we are a small country, we are very interested in Putin because we are a neighbor and have big oil and gas deposits and investments in our closet.
Trade and Industry Minister John Christian Westre (Labor) says collective sanctions have the best effect.
– Sanctions have the greatest impact on gaining broad international support, and Norway joins EU sanctions, Vestre writes in an email to VG.
Westre says Equinor must act in accordance with the sanctions imposed on all other Norwegian companies on an equal footing.
He says this applies to all companies, regardless of whether they are state-owned or not.
He referred the group to questions about cooperation with Russian companies.
– I expect companies to be at the forefront of their work with responsible business. I therefore expect Equinor to act responsibly and aggressively, he says, adding that Russia would be concerned with violating international law and attacking a peaceful country in Europe.
Equinor’s spokeswoman Ola Morten Aanestad says this is a very serious situation.
– We have been in Russia for more than 30 years, and further developments in open dialogue with Norwegian officials and officials from other countries, he tells VG.
He commented on the MDGs proposal as follows:
– Very soon to say anything about how conflict and any barriers will affect business in the future.
In response Dagbladet Oil Fund Manager Nikolai Tangan calls this a “dilemma”:
– It is clear that this is a stumbling block, but selling from the market is not black and white. The Moscow stock market has plummeted in recent days, and now if we sell our shares, Russian oligarchs can buy these shares at a cheaper sale.
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