Emilie Enger Mehl
|Minister of Justice|
|Assumed office |
14 October 2021
|Prime Minister||Jonas Gahr Støre|
|Preceded by||Monica Mæland|
|Member of the Storting|
|Assumed office |
9 October 2017
|Born||8 August 1993|
Lørenskog, Akershus, Norway
|Alma mater||University of Oslo|
Personal life and educationEdit
Mehl was elected representative to the Storting for the period 2017–2021 for the Centre Party. She was member of the Standing Committee on Justice from 2017 to 2020, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from 2017 to 2021. From 2020 to 2021 she was member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence and of the Enlarged Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. She was re-elected to the Storting for the period 2021–2025, and was replaced by deputy Margrethe Haarr while being part of the Støre's Cabinet from October 2021.
Minister of JusticeEdit
The day after her appointment, she and prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre visited Kongsberg following an attack against five people who were killed by a man with a bow and arrow. There they lay down flowers in memory of the victims.
Following multiple shootings occurring in Oslo, Mehl expressed concerns over the recent developments. She specifically expressed concerns about shootings occurring on open streets and near schools, and stressed that criminals shouldn’t be allowed to use these spaces for their own benefits and putting innocent lives at risk. Mehl also stressed that Oslo should be a safe place, and said she was going to meet local police and municipality the week after.
The Green Party’s spokesperson for social policy, Farid Shariati called on Mehl to establish a commission to look into all matters of the police’s abuse of power in drug cases. He also accused Mehl of playing political games and being afraid to do her job after she responded by saying she that she would stick to what the Director of Public Prosecutions investigation concludes, and his evaluation of the police’s handling of drug cases.
In early November, Mehl visited the Stovner police station to meet with its chief, Beate Gangås, to discuss the recent shootings that occurred in the capital, in the wake of eight young men being shot over the span of ten weeks. Following the visit, she emphasised that Oslo is a safe city, but also expressed understanding for people who might be concerned.
Following concerns from the Children’s Ombudsman about the reversal of the courts reform, Mehl stated that the government was interested in local protest to the reform in means of going through with it. She also emphasised with the Ombudsman’s concerns for children’s welfare.
Ahead of the revised state budget, Mehl promised an extra 200 million NOK to be spent on the police. She said it was long term work, and that the government would go through the Solberg Cabinet’s police reform and put forward a plan to strengthen the police. She also said the government would evaluate the Police Directorate. The Conservative Party’s spokesperson for justice policy, Sveinung Stensland, said that Mehl had to “get out of the campaign fog”, and that the police didn’t need more stations, but more officers. He also criticised what he called the Centre Party’s “reversal-mania”, which he alleged would damage national security and police preparedness.
On 17 November, Mehl rejected the Norwegian Correctional Service’s proposal of reducing the amount of prisons from 32 to 13. She stated that it wasn’t the governments wish to do so, and that they would keep the current structure and continue the foundational staffing of the prisons.
On 5 December, Mehl stated she wanted the old court structure back early into the parliamentary term. She expressed that there was a danger for smaller courts to suffer from worker losses due to the previous governments court reform, which reduced the amount of courts from 60 to 23. She also expressed that the government had to listen to others than just the top leaders in the justice sector. The Conservative Party’s spokesperson for justice policy, Sveinung Stensland, criticised Mehl, referring to that multiple levels of the justice sector, disagreed with her decision.
On 9 December, Mehl announced that 40 million NOK of the promised 200 million to the police, would be spent on the Oslo police. She also promised a fight against gang violence and recruitment of minors in the capital.
Following demands to regulate pyro usage at football tribunes, Mehl met with Supporter-Norge representatives on 14 December to discuss regulation. She expressed that the meeting had been productive, whilst different spokespersons from various Supporter-Norge organisations also expressed optimism following the meeting. Mehl also stated that safety would be the priority when it would come to a subsequent new evaluation of the existing regulation.
In early January 2022, the Conservative party expressed concerns for national security regarding the police’s tender process for requiring Chinese drones from DJI. In response, Mehl called for a meeting with director of police Benedicte Bjørnland for 7 January. Mehl expressed that she expected the police to make a new assessment of the security situation in light of new information.
The reversal of the courts merger was initiated later that month when Mehl put forward a proposal on hearing, with a deadline within three months. The proposal includes a suggestion of full reversal, although the government will leave it up to individual municipalities to decide. Mehl stated that it will be up to them to decide if they want to keep their local court.
The Christian Democrats expressed that deportation cases involving children should be halted until a new report was processed. Mehl responded by saying that this will not happen, arguing that there was no reason for such cases to be temporarily halted, adding: “The working group has not found any decisive differences between current practice and Norway's obligations under international law”. Despite this, the Christian Democrats later announced that they would be putting forward a proposal to put all deportation cases that affect children on hold until the report has been considered politically. Mehl promised to go into the report and consider further follow-up.
At a press conference with Director of Police Benedicte Bjørnland and director of the Norwegian Police Security Service Hans Sverre Sjøvold, Mehl announced that the threat image in Norway was unchanged despite the ongoing war in Ukraine. She also noted that the security situation has been unchanged in Norway, but increased in Europe as a whole.
On 29 March, Mehl called for an emergency meeting with Thales Group, who is responsible for the production of Norwegian passports, following reports of problems with production of passports. In a press release, she stated: “I have today been informed that the manufacturer of Norwegian passports and ID cards has had a reduced production capacity and may have problems delivering sufficient passports to Norwegians and citizens of several European countries. The government is taking the situation seriously, and I have summoned Thales to an emergency meeting to find out how they intend to deal with this”.
In regards to the courts reform, Mehl stated on 4 April that she would rather listen to “ordinary people” then the “Oslo elite” of judicial experts. However, she clarified she would listen to judicial experts, but not always relay on them. She also reiterated the government’s stand to reverse the courts reform, despite judicial experts and civilians expressing strong opposition to a reversal.
Mehl oversaw the delivery of new Ford Explorer Hybrids to the Norwegian Police Service, the first of which was delivered on 21 April to Lillestrøm. The vehicles were ordered in August 2021. Of the delivery and vehicles, she said: “We are now strengthening the police with more new cars. I know there is a great demand, so I am glad that we are now strengthening the operational capability of the police”.
A total of 64 municipalities expressed that they wanted a change to the current court reform, while 67 wanted to maintain the reform. Some of said municipalities asked the government to write into law the number of courts in the country. Mehl promised that the government would commence a thorough evaluation.
She also participated in the third season of Kompani Lauritzen, but did not accept payment for her participation, but instead wished for her remuneration to be donated to charity organisations. She went on to win the season.
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