Norway’s PM Vows to Boost Terror Preparedness After Breivik

Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg vowed to boost safeguards against terrorist attacks after a report concluded his administration could have done more to prevent Anders Behring Breivik massacring 77 people.

“Allow me to share a realization with parliament: The commission revealed shortcomings in Norway’s emergency response and emergency culture that are more extensive and deeper than I had expected,” Stoltenberg said in a speech to the legislature in Oslo today. “That’s difficult to take in. I’m all the more confident that we will correct the errors.”

The July 22 Commission, which published its findings on Aug. 13, said the government could have halted the bombing of the premier’s office and that police failed to respond effectively to the attacks, leading to “unacceptable” delays. The findings prompted Norway’s largest tabloid newspaper VG to call for Stoltenberg’s resignation.

Stoltenberg, who faces elections next year, has said he will stay in office. Police Chief Oeystein Maeland stepped down the same week as the report was released after Justice Minister Knut Storberget resigned in November.

Breivik last year bombed the premier’s office, killing eight, and took 69 lives in a shooting spree at the Utoeya island youth camp. He was last week sentenced to 21 years in jail, with the option for extensions, after all five judges found him mentally fit for prison.

Large Sums

Stoltenberg presented a series of measures, including a new emergency response center for the police in Oslo and more frequent emergency drills at all levels of his administration. The police will also in the future be able to draw on the military when it needs helicopters, and more measures will be outlined in “due course,” the government said.

“We’re talking about many billions of kroner,” Stoltenberg said at a briefing. “We should be prepared for the fact that this will require significant resources, large sums, over a long time.”

The Justice Ministry is also looking into making it easier to prosecute to prevent terrorist acts and is even exploring the option of banning semi-automatic weapons.

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