By her own calculations, PM Erna Solberg has delivered on 95 percent of her promises. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix
“Although the world has changed, we have stood firm on many of the main priorities of the campaign,” Solberg said at her semi-annual press conference on Wednesday.
“One of the important things this government does is to safeguard Norway for the future. We had a plan, we had an agenda, and we continue to work on it,” she added.
Solberg touted strengthening elderly rights, cutting waiting times in the health sector and improving patient rights. She also pointed to improved substance abuse care and psychiatric services, not to mention the tightening of the nation’s asylum policies.
“We now have a significantly lower influx of refugees. Some of it is due to putting behind us a long stretch with border controls that allowed many to previously seek asylum. Some of it is due to many now perceiving Norway as a stricter country and thus fewer people seek to come here,” the PM said.
She added that the strict asylum policy must be supplemented with clearer integration policies, and that an integration proposal presented by the government has gained traction in parliament.
By her own calculations, Solberg’s government is well on its way to fulfilling the promises it set out in 2013. Since autumn, the government has presented 207 propositions and 39 messages to parliament. Only in 12 instances was the government fully or partially defeated, according to the prime minister.
“That means 95 percent have gone through,” Solberg said.
She said that the toughest defeat was the inability to push through even more asylum restrictions.
“If we had gotten a somewhat tighter policy, Norway would have been better prepared for a greater influx. But we succeeded in some of the important moves, so I’m happy,” she said.
She also cited the downturn in the oil industry as one of her government’s biggest unforeseen challenges.
“We see positive signs in that there is an increased access to [oil industry job] vacancies, including in Rogaland and Hordaland. But it is too early to say whether the bottom has been reached,” the PM stated.
She said another challenge is the emergence of a deep distrust of politicians, elites and transnational cooperation.
She fears that if Brits on Thursday vote to leave the EU, it will fuel such sentiments and and make the other EU countries more concerned about themselves and their own national problems.
“The EU is not in crisis now, but if we see Brexit, it will intensify the situation,” Solberg said.