Norway is growing richer by the minute but Prime Minister insists it's no 'war profiteer'

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By Euronews  with AFP
Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store in Berlin, Germany last month.
Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store in Berlin, Germany last month.   -  Copyright  Kay Nietfeld/(c) Copyright 2022, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Norway has grown richer by the minute as the conflict in Ukraine boosts its gas revenues, but the country is not a war profiteer, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told AFP in an interview.

Hinting that Norway would soon become one of the world's biggest donors to Ukraine with an upcoming aid package, he dismissed the unflattering "war profiteering" allegation made by those who want Oslo to do more for Ukrainians.

His government is putting the final touches on a "multi-year support package" to be announced in the coming days, designed to help Ukraine and poor countries affected by the knock-on effects of the war, such as soaring grain prices.

The aid will help them "in maintaining their civil infrastructure, hopefully, one day rebuilding a free Ukraine and in the meantime also supporting them militarily," Støre said.

The amount and details will be announced early next month. 

Støre rejected the notion, put forward by Poland's prime minister among others, that Oslo was, albeit involuntarily, taking advantage of the war in Ukraine for its own financial gain.

Since last year, the Scandinavian country has redoubled efforts to help compensate for the drop in Russian gas supplies to Europe following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Oslo has boosted gas exports by eight to 10 per cent and is now Europe's biggest supplier, helping the continent stay warm this winter.

With gas prices high, this means Norway's coffers are overflowing.

This year, the government has forecast its biggest-ever budget surplus of 1.12 trillion kroner (€1.03 billion).

The cash will help fuel Norway's sovereign wealth fund, already the world's largest, worth more than 13.4 trillion kroner (€1.23 trillion).

"Norway has for 50 years been an explorer, at some risk, and seller of energy resources, oil and gas", Støre said. "Norway does not fix those prices".

The higher gas price, he noted, has also led to soaring electricity bills for Norwegian families and companies, which is "politically a big challenge for us" in a country that relies heavily on electricity, including for its industry, heating and transportation.  

For more watch Euronews' report in the video above.