Jens Stoltenberg to become next governor of Norway's central bank

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Jens Stoltenberg twice served as Norwegian Prime Minister before becoming NATO Secretary-General.
Jens Stoltenberg twice served as Norwegian Prime Minister before becoming NATO Secretary-General.   -   Copyright  Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will become Norway’s next central bank governor, the government announced on Friday.

Stoltenberg’s tenure at NATO ends later this year and he is expected to start his new role around 1 December.

The 62-year-old twice served as Norway's prime minister before becoming NATO secretary-general in 2014. After a successful first term, his mandate at the trans-Atlantic alliance was extended.

The announcement comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine.

"Until my tenure at NATO ends on 1 October, I will use all my strength and attention on the leadership of the alliance," Stoltenberg said at a video conference on Friday.

"This is absolutely necessary at a time when Europe and North America must stand together," he added.

Stoltenberg has been praised for steering NATO through a difficult period under the Trump administration when the US threatened not to aid member countries that weren’t spending enough on defence.

"I have been keen to find the best central bank governor for Norway and ... I am convinced that it is Jens Stoltenberg," said Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.

The current governor of Norges Bank -- 70-year-old Øystein Olsen -- is retiring this year after holding the position for two terms since January 2011.

Stoltenberg was appointed ahead of the current Central Bank vice-president Ida Wolden Bache, who would have been the first woman to hold the role.

Norwegian opposition parties have argued that Stoltenberg's appointment could damage the independence of the central bank, given his close ties to the country's Socialist government.