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Cooperative Leadership, Not Tea Party Cocktail

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From Europe we watch the US midterm elections very close. Will
the House and Senate remain arenas for political dialogue or will we
see a turn towards politics of obstruction?


Observing the elections from Norway, it is hard to grasp that the
optimism which rushed President Obama to power could have dwindled
so rapidly. Let's not forget he inherited a country politically divided,
steeped in debt, and with a financial crisis unfolding. The administration's
groundbreaking economic stimulus package, and the health care reform
bill, are political deliverables to be proud of. I hope voters allow the
administration some space. Showing a bit of patience would be a good
thing.


Still the austerity message gains ground among Republicans, supported
by a cocktail of Tea Party rhetoric and Fox News political agenda. In
many European capitals the austerity drive is now the order of the day.
In France, Germany and especially in the UK conservative governments
compete to inflict cuts in social programmes for poorer families and
unemployed. These policies may be directly harmful to economic
recovery, and at times seem more guided by acts of faith than sound
fiscal policies.


In Norway, the government led by the Labour Party and Prime Minister
Jens Stoltenberg has steered us through the financial crisis by
introducing a fiscal stimuli package to support job rates and growth.
With the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and a healthy economic
growth forecast for next year, we will continue to build and modernize the
welfare state which underpins the Norwegian society.


The world needs cooperative leadership - leadership based on a will for
dialogue in financial policies as well as in other areas. Inward-looking
austerity and Tea Party populism is not the answer, neither for the US
nor for Europe.


What do you think? I'm interested in your views, so please
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