Eivind Smith claims that enforcement orders concerning Finnmark and Troms were illegal

Lawyer Eivind Smith defeats the government investigation, which states that the decision on the merger of Finnmark and Troms is legal.

Timeline – The battle over Finnmark + Troms

June 8, 2017: Het Storting approves the regional reform of the government, limiting the number of districts to 11.

October 2017: the city council of Troms decides to start a merger with Finnmark.

October 31, 2017: A joint provincial council meeting with Finnmark and Troms will be held in Kirkenes. They agree that negotiations will be conducted between the two negotiating committees. It ends with the break through of negotiations by Finnmark.

March 2018: Arrondissementsraad van Troms approves agreement on the merger of Troms and Finnmark. If Finnmark does not approve the agreement, Troms requests the Minister for Local Government and Modernization to organize the members and the mandate of the Joint Committee to organize mergers.

May 10, 2018: The Center Party warns bills in the Deposit to reverse the resolution on forced labor.

June 21, 2018: Finnmark does not maintain a merger and their provincial council decides not to appoint members of the joint committee.

Half an hour after the decision, the Minister of Local Government and Modernization Monica Mæland (H) publishes a new regulation that reduces the representation of Finnmark in the joint committee and authorizes Troms to lead only the joint committee.

2018/12/07: The Provincial Council in Troms recommends that the County Council, at its meeting on 10 August, assume that "it is impossible for members of Troms to carry out their work in the Joint Committee without Finnmark taking part in the Board".

The provincial council (AP, SP, V, KrF) also proposes to ask the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization to carry out the tasks of the regional joint committee to carry out the merger.

July 2018: Red rejects the proposal to ask the ministry to complete the merger. Rood suggests that the provincial council on 10 August instead requires the minister to raise the case for the Deposit to reverse the decision on forced labor.

August 10, 2018: The majority in the provincial council of Troms says no to participate in a joint committee and calls on the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization to carry out the merger work. State Monica Mæland says no to this and asks the two provinces to repair.

August 20, 2018: Monica Mæland calls on the two counties to meet each other. Only Troms is coming. Mæland concludes that she will not continue until the Storting has handled the case.

August 20, 2018: Monica Mæland answered a written question from the parliamentary commissioner Sandra Borch (Sp) on the decision of the Storting to merge between Troms and Finnmark were legally binding.

"I still see the resolution of the Deposit of the decision to unite Troms and Finnmark as unlawful.

It says Professor of Public Law at the University of Oslo, Eivind Smith, to ABC News, the day after Monica Mæland, the State Council claimed the opposite.

– You can live with a formal mistake. But here the form corresponds to the fact that no account is taken of legitimate considerations – in a case where the process has become so bad for Finnmark, he adds.

For example, he provides an overwhelming judgment against the analysis: the Minister of the Interior and Modernization presented on 20 August that the decision was taken after a legal process.

Mæland has not convinced Smith

Smith in a statement on the issue of the NRK on July 3 this year accused the Deposit for violating the rules they themselves have laid down in the laws of indentelinn, with the process prior to the decision to merge the two northernmost provinces together .

The doubts about the Deposit with the bank proposal to merge the county of Finnmark and Troms broke the law, so parliamentary commissioner Sandra Borch (Sp) asked the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization for legality.

But the answer from city council and modernization minister Monica Mæland does not convince Eivind Smith.

Promised participation – decided there and then

In the answer, Mæland agrees that the fourth paragraph of Article 9 of the Act stipulates that municipalities and district municipalities must be given the opportunity to express their opinion before taking a decision about a border change or a limit. In the field of mergers, the district council must pronounce itself.

Why do you mean breaking the law, Eivind Smith?

"By the fact that the provincial council was not in a position to take a position on the government's proposal with sufficient time to assess the case and the possibility to hold a referendum before a decision was taken, he replies.

Short-cut process

On 7 April 2017, the government presented its proposal for district councils. There was the question whether the three northernmost provinces were open. They were considered an assessment of three alternatives, dialogue and participation in the process.

But in the Storting a Frp proposal, supported by the government parties and KrF, led to a shortening of the process. Finally, the conclusion was drawn from time to time: coalition of Finnmark and Troms.

Finnmark is now being accused of boycotting a parliamentary decision and is being criticized for holding a referendum after the Storting has taken a decision. The referendum showed that 87 percent of the population wanted to remain an independent county.

– The law must serve a purpose

State Council Mæland points out that the statute stipulates that the counties must have the right to speak out before decisions are taken, but that the law does not stipulate that they must do so after a government proposal is available.

"The paragraph should be read with regard to what purpose it should serve as a good process," says Eivind Smith.

– Then you must be able to pronounce before the decision is made. Not least in controversial cases, the parties must have time to speak out in time before the case is struck, he says.

– This is what the government itself suggested in its proposal. Then it became the coup in parliament, probably with the knowledge of the government, and the decision was taken there and then, "Smith said.

"What is really lacking in the argument in Méland's letter is that it does not foresee that the government itself proposes a proper procedure", Professor Smith said.

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