Jonas Gahr Støre

Jens Stoltenberg Bent Høie Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway)

Jonas Gahr Støre
Jonas Gahr Støre undated.jpg
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
14 June 2014
MonarchHarald V
Prime MinisterErna Solberg
Preceded byJens Stoltenberg
Leader of the Labour Party
Assumed office
14 June 2014
DeputyHadia Tajik
Trond Giske (2015–2018)
Bjørnar Skjæran (2019–)
Preceded byJens Stoltenberg
Minister of Health and Care Services
In office
21 September 2012 – 16 October 2013
Prime MinisterJens Stoltenberg
Preceded byAnne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen
Succeeded byBent Høie
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
17 October 2005 – 21 September 2012
Prime MinisterJens Stoltenberg
Preceded byJan Petersen
Succeeded byEspen Barth Eide
Member of the Norwegian Parliament
Assumed office
1 October 2009
Personal details
Born (1960-08-25) 25 August 1960 (age 60)
Oslo, Norway
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Marit Slagsvold
Alma materRoyal Norwegian Naval Academy
Sciences Po
London School of Economics

Jonas Gahr Støre (born 25 August 1960) is a Norwegian politician and the leader of the Labour Party and the Leader of the Opposition. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2012 and as Minister of Health and Care Services from 2012 to 2013. He has been a member of the Storting since 2009, and was deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs from 2013 until being elected party leader in 2014. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.[1]

Støre studied political science at Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris from 1981 to 1985. He worked for Gro Harlem Brundtland as adviser and later director general at the prime minister's office from 1989 to 1997. He was executive director at the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2000 and secretary general of the Norwegian Red Cross from 2003 to 2005.[1]

Early life and education

Born in Oslo, Jonas Gahr Støre is the son of ship broker Ulf Jonas Støre (1925-2017) and librarian Unni Gahr (1931-).[2] He attended Berg School in Oslo, then underwent naval officer training at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy. He later studied political science for five years at Sciences Po in Paris.[2]

Støre started his professional career as a teaching fellow in the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School in 1986. This was followed by a position as a researcher at the Norwegian School of Management from 1986 to 1989.

Career in public administration and organizations

He was previously affiliated with the Conservative Party (Bokmål: Høyre; Nynorsk: Høgre) having applied for a position as political advisor on foreign affairs for Høyre.[3] He was offered the job but subsequently turned it down.[3] In 1989, Støre became special adviser in the prime minister's office of Gro Harlem Brundtland.[3] He formally became a member of the Labour Party in 1995.

He later became an ambassador in the Norwegian Delegation to the United Nations Office at Geneva. His first major international position was as executive director (Chief of Staff) in the World Health Organization under the leadership of Gro Harlem Brundtland.

He was executive chairman of the think tank ECON Analyse from 2002 to 2003 and secretary general of the Norwegian Red Cross from 2003 to 2005.

Political career

Foreign Minister

In 2005, Støre was appointed foreign minister in Jens Stoltenberg's government, serving in that position until 2012. Numerous polls showed that Støre was the most popular member of the Stoltenberg government.[4]

In 2006, Băsescu voiced concern over the 2006 Lebanon War. Støre called Israel's reaction "totally unacceptable" and referred to it as "a dangerous escalation," while also condemning Hezbollah's attack on the Israeli soldiers.[5]

Health Minister

On 21 September 2012, Jens Stoltenberg commenced a cabinet reshuffle, and moved Støre to head the Ministry of Health and Care Services. He was succeeded by Espen Barth Eide as foreign minister during the same reshuffle. While serving as health minister, he was nicknamed Helse-Jonas (Health Jonas)[6]

Member of Parliament

In the 2009 general election in Norway, Støre was elected to the Norwegian parliament, Stortinget, and represents Oslo. He was reelected in 2013 and 2017.

Leader of the Labour Party

On 14 June 2014, he was elected leader of the Labour Party, succeeding Jens Stoltenberg, who had been appointed secretary-general of NATO.

Hotel Serena attack

On 14 January 2008, a suicide bomber struck the Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, where Støre was staying. He was then the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.[7] Støre was unhurt in the incident, which killed six people including Norwegian journalist Carsten Thomassen.[8] United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated that Støre was the target of the attack,[9] but this claim was rejected by a Taliban spokesperson.[10] Støre canceled the rest of his visit to Afghanistan the day after the attack.[11]


It created a controversy when Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, confirmed to Norwegian media in 2011 that he had been having direct telephone conversations with Støre during his time as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by both the EU and the United States. Støre first denied the allegations, then asked to re-do his interview in order to change his response to the allegations.[12][13][14][15][16]

Støre received criticism in 2017 when it was revealed that workers in a building company hired to on do work on his holiday home, had not paid taxes nor VAT.[17][18][19][20]

Støre was criticized by Geir Lundestad, Nobel Prize Committee Secretary, in a 2015 BBC interview for trying to dissuade in 2010 the Nobel panel from awarding the prize to a Chinese dissident, for fear it would strain the Norway's relationship with Beijing. The Nobel committee ignored the warnings and honored Liu Xiaobo.[21]

Other activities

Personal life

Støre is married to the sociologist Marit Slagsvold, and they have three sons, who attended Oslo Waldorf School.[23] Støre is a professed Christian[24] and both he and his wife are noted as supporters of Waldorf education and active within the anthroposophic community in Oslo more broadly.[25]

Støre is a multi-millionaire, with a fortune of around NOK 60,000,000 (approx. US$7,100,000 in 2016)[26] He owns a large part of the family company Femstø. Most of the family fortune comes from the sale in 1977 of Norwegian company Jøtul which was run by his maternal grandfather Johannes Gahr.


  1. ^ a b Støre, Jonas Gahr ( 1960- ) Retrieved 7 November 2013. (in Norwegian)
  2. ^ a b Jonas Gahr Støre Store Norske Leksikon. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^
  5. ^ Norway condemns Israeli attacks on Lebanon Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Health Jonas has bought private health services" (in Norwegian). NRK. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  7. ^ Taleban attack Kabul luxury hotel, BBC News, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  8. ^ Bombeangrep mot Støres hotell, Aftenposten, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  9. ^ FNs generalsekretær: - Støre var målet Archived 16 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Aftenposten, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  10. ^ Taliban: - Støre var ikke målet, VG Nett, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  11. ^ VG: Støre trolig hjem til Norge etter terrorangrepet, published 14 January 2008 (in Norwegian)
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  22. ^ Crisis Group Announces New Board Members International Crisis Group, press release of 28 July 2016.
  23. ^ Hallgeir Opedal: Internasjonal samlivsterapeut Dagbladet, 10 July 2013
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  25. ^ AntroPost 3-2008
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