Olaf Scholz also endured the scream stoically calmly. You can see a chancellor briefly looking at the scenery, which somehow also fits in with the times of 2022. Scholz is more silent than screamer, weighs the words even more these days than he usually does. Edvard Munch processed an anxiety attack in his most famous painting. Scholz’s most important task is to take away the fears of the citizens. This task also has to do with his visit to Oslo.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store has invited visitors to the spectacular new Munch Museum, which leans towards the bay with its 13 floors. Before he shows Scholz the scream, a moment of leisure, the two gentlemen consulted with the heads of government of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, of Sweden, Magdalena Andersson, and of Finland, Sanna Marin, at the Nordic-German To meet.

Scholz, who likes to describe himself as a feminist and whose cabinet is made up of half women and half men, praises the Nordic countries as a “role model”. It is also a social-democratic family reunion here, the Icelanders Jakobsdóttir notes that as a left-green party, they are almost a little out of the ordinary here.

Finland’s Marin made headlines again at the weekend with the casual outfit for visiting a festival, she is also the one who most clearly showed a disagreement with Scholz as the group of six faced the press after meeting high up in the Munch Museum . Everyone on the podium should say what they think about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for an entry ban for Russians in order to increase internal pressure on Vladimir Putin.

Marin, who, like Andersson, is leading her country against NATO at record speed in response to the war, has given up all neutrality. “I don’t think it’s right that Russian citizens can enter the EU and the Schengen area as tourists and go sightseeing while Russia is killing people in Ukraine,” she says. Scholz, on the other hand, reiterates his controversial thesis: “This is Putin’s war, not the Russians’ war”. Because in the country many people support the war, caught by the one-sided propaganda that can be seen on TV every day.

One should not make it even more difficult for opposition Russians who want to go to Europe and many of whom are already in EU countries to flee, says Scholz. On the other hand, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says that a visa ban should be discussed, but that her government has not yet made a decision. Then she leaves the podium in a flash – the plane to Copenhagen is waiting, heavy thunderstorms are announced.

The others remain diplomatic and do not commit themselves. The drivers of a visa ban are Finland, Estonia and Lithuania because, as border countries, they continue to have many visitors from Russia who stock up on goods there that fall under EU sanctions. Poland is now also supporting a visa ban. People no longer seem to be as united as they were at the beginning of the war.

Actually, the focus here is something else. In the series of multiple, overlapping crises, the price issue grows into an issue that now worries many citizens more than the war. From here, Scholz intervenes on the subject of the gas surcharge, briefly explains to the others in English that this is a somewhat special topic and only switches from English to German for this one answer. This is about the message to the home audience; they are working intensively on another billion-dollar package.

But the crucial question remains unanswered: How is this to be financed? Where Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) wants to keep the money together and in the coming year wants to comply with the debt brake by hook or by crook. About a supplementary budget? Will there be more energy price flat rates, in addition to the 300 euros in September.

Part of the Scholz method is not to commit yourself until the result is known – then you can’t look like a loser either. As a rule, he doesn’t make any promises, but his “You’ll never walk alone” arouses great expectations, and he will now be judged by that.

Above all, Scholz needs more gas so that Germany can get through the winter without any major upheavals. The gas levy was introduced as an emergency instrument to support gas traders, since they have enormous additional expenses because they have to obtain gas from other sources, and have less and less cheap Russian gas is sent.

After the Nordic-German meeting, the chancellor and the Norwegian prime minister, Gahr Store, take a boat – electrically powered, of course – over to the government guest house. It almost blows both of them away, heavy rain has set in. “I thought the weather was great,” said Hanseat Scholz afterwards. “We’re not made of sugar.”

Gahr Store expressly praises Germany as the most important partner, it is of enormous importance for Europe that Germany is now investing so heavily in its defense. Scholz has also initiated a turning point in energy policy. “You’re with friends, Olaf.” But the appearance isn’t that clear after all.

New supply contracts with Qatar have so far not worked out because the country wants long-term contracts, but the traffic light coalition sees gas only as a bridge until there are enough renewable energies and hydrogen technologies are ready for the market.

In Norway, coffers have been flowing since the beginning of the war, the country is gradually replacing Russia as the most important supplier in Germany, and offshore production in the North Sea has been expanded. From January to April of this year, Norway exported almost 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Germany, almost twice as much as in the same period of 2021.

Three out of seven Norwegian export pipelines lead to Germany, and a lot of natural gas comes by tanker. Liquid gas transport is also to be expanded; Germany wants to rent two floating liquid gas terminals from Norway for imports. Gahr Store emphasizes that production has already been increased by almost ten percent after the Russian attack on Ukraine. The net profit of the energy company Equinor has recently tripled. For the second quarter, the group reported a profit of more than 6.6 billion euros – compared to 1.9 billion euros in the same quarter last year.

But then the prime minister says a sentence that is bad for Scholz: “Norway delivers at most what we can deliver.” Means: more is not possible, the development of new gas fields does not work overnight. Replacing the Russian gas will not be that easy. Saving energy should therefore be all the more important now. This means that after Qatar, another country’s hope of being able to quickly get additional quantities – and also to get the prices under control again, because every shortage also means that it can go up even further, is dashed. Above all, Russia is benefiting from this and, despite far fewer deliveries, continues to fill its own war chest.

Scholz emphasizes that the entire infrastructure is now being rebuilt in such a way that one will never again be as dependent on a country as it is on Russia. Four liquid gas terminals in Lubmin, Stade, Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven should go online as quickly as possible. “I am very happy that we have a secure, democratic and reliable partner in Norway. You can rely on Norway,” says the Chancellor.

In Germany, the government is preparing the citizens for a loss of prosperity, in Norway prosperity is growing, especially because of the topic of energy Gahr Store has another business area in mind. The capture and underground injection of CO2 under the North Sea (CCS) to achieve the European climate targets.

CO2 could also come here from Germany, the energy giants Equinor, Shell and Total are planning pipelines in the North Sea to inject millions of tons of CO2 underground every year. Scholz found the pilot projects in Germany exciting, for example by Vattenfall in Lusatia for lignite-fired power plants. But then citizens rebelled against the dangers of “CO2 repositories”, especially in Schleswig-Holstein, where there are suitable storage areas – and the plans were dead.

“We know your fears,” says Gahr Store. “We can tell a different story.” Experience has been gained here for 30 years that the CO2 is pressed 3,000 meters below the sea floor. “This is a secure storage location.”

A little later, Scholz continues to Stockholm, where he spends the night in the Grand Hotel, where the Nobel Prize winners traditionally spend the night before being honored for groundbreaking new discoveries. The chancellor needs special solutions to somehow get out of the defensive when it comes to energy and climate change.