For members


What Erna Solberg’s seven election promises mean for foreign residents in Norway 

Norwegian PM Erna Solberg has made seven election pledges, but what will they mean for you if she stays on as prime minister? Here’s what you need to know. 

What Erna Solberg's seven election promises mean for foreign residents in Norway 
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has issued seven promises to voters. Photo: Olivier Hoslet/AFP

Conservative leader and current Prime Minister Erna Solberg has issued seven promises to voters as part of a four-year plan if she remains in government following Norway’s general election on September 13th. 

Among the promises are more private-sector jobs, shorter queues for healthcare and more affordable childcare. 

Below we’ll break down what they mean for you. If you’d like to look at the party’s election promises, you can do so here

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Norway’s upcoming election

Promise on schools

The first of the seven promises is aimed at education. Solberg has pledged that the Conservative Party will ensure that 5,000 more students complete high school. 

Just under 80 percent of students complete high school or equivalent apprenticeships, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Norway

For foreign residents with children nearing high school age, this will come as encouraging news. 

Norway is already one of the top ten most educated countries in the world, according to the World Population Review. So should your children wish to enter the international job market after studying in Norway, they should be in good stead. 

The drawback to this, presumably, would be more competition for university spots if they are thinking about higher education. In recent years Norway has seen record numbers of people applying to universities in Norway. More than 154,000 people applied to university in Norway this year, and Solberg’s promise will only see this increase if it comes to fruition. 

More private sector jobs 

Solberg has also pledged to increase the number of private sector jobs in Norway.

She has said she would work towards four out of five jobs in Norway being created by the private sector. 

Most foreign residents working in Norway are employed in the private sector, so job creation in this sphere will come as welcome news if Solberg can make good on the promise. 

One of the strategies the Conservatives will employ to ensure more jobs in the private sector are created is to scrap a wealth tax on working capital and launch an entrepreneurial package that aims to make starting a business in Norway easier. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about setting up as a freelancer in Norway

Shorter waiting times for healthcare

Solberg has said that the Conservatives will aim to reduce waiting times by around two weeks over the next four years. 

She also defended the privatisation of healthcare in Norway and said that the Conservatives would set the goal of offering 100,000 patients free choice of treatment by 2025. 

Norway’s healthcare systems will also become increasingly digitised as part of the crackdown on waiting times. This may make it harder for new residents to settle and access healthcare. In most cases, a Norwegian national identity number and or a level four security electronic ID that requires an identity number to log in will be required to sign in to digital public services such as healthcare. 

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners in Norway need to know about electronic IDs

Greater equality and social diversity

The Conservatives have also set several goals and proposed various strategies under this promise that could affect the lives of foreign residents. 

Firstly, they will ensure that more children are offered daycare spaces when they turn one and abolish the parental payment for families with three children in the same kindergarten. This is in addition to raising the child benefit by 8,200 kroner for children up to six. You can read about the child benefit here.

Secondly, they will aim to ensure that three out of four refugees will be in work or education one year after completing the introduction programme. 

They will also try to improve the standard of Norwegian language teaching by introducing testing and assessments for providers. 

On the topic of language, they will also raise the competence requirement for Norwegian in citizenship applications. 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Norway’s citizenship test

For potential homeowners, Solberg will also look to expand the rent to own scheme. 

READ MORE: Is it better to buy or rent property in Norway 

The Conservatives will try and simplify the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s (NAV) services for job seekers.

Climate promise

In its four-year plan, the Conservatives describe climate change as the biggest problem the world faces. 

By 2025, Solberg wants all new cars and vans sold in Norway to be emission-free and have said that the CO2 tax will be stepped up to 2,000 kroner per tonne in 2030. 

This means anyone planning on buying a car should bear this in mind when thinking about their purchase. 

Furthermore, Solberg has said that if she stays on as PM, the Conservatives would also create more jobs in the green sector. 

Freedom to live where you want

This doesn’t apply to immigration, which the Conservatives have pledged to take a measured and controlled approach to. This instead applies to having the infrastructure available to live and work in Norway, whether you choose. 

The party has pledged to offer high-quality education in more rural areas and making sure all houses have access to both high-speed broadband and 5G coverage by 2025. 

The party didn’t make any specific pledges regarding the opportunity to work from home or how they will give those living in rural areas greater access to private-sector jobs.

Better policing and security

Norway will focus strongly on tackling online hate crime, trolling and abuse under another Solberg government and will work on improving policing in rural areas. 

They will aim to increase recruitment for the police in rural areas twice as much as in cities. 

Norwegian police will also aim to increase victim aftercare.  

What have critics said? 

Labour deputy leader Hadia Tajik has called the promises “anaemic”. 

“There are quite empty promises after eight years of Conservative politics. I think people see through this. We see the results after eight years in government,” Tajik told newspaper VG.

Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has also hit out at the promises. 

“These are small ideas and centralising solutions,” he told VG. 

He also said that Solberg had failed to do enough to create private, green jobs. 

Labour leader and Solberg’s biggest rival in the election, Jonas Gahr Støre, has said the promises would only benefit the rich and privileged. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Air-con, ties and lights: How Europe plans to save energy and get through winter without blackouts

In the face of possible energy shortages due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, countries around Europe are taking action to cut their energy use and ensure that the lights remain on this winter. Here's a look at some of the rules and recommendations that governments are introducing.

Air-con, ties and lights: How Europe plans to save energy and get through winter without blackouts

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions has seen energy prices soar, while the Russian leader is also threatening to cut off gas supplies to the west in retaliation for the sanctions.

All this means that countries around Europe face a difficult winter and the prospect of energy shortages – so many are already taking action to stockpile gas and cut energy usage.

Here’s a roundup of what actions are being taken. 


Heavily dependant on Russian gas, Germany is already feeling the effects of the energy squeeze, with many households and businesses turning down the thermostat or dimming the lights as gas storage facilities are being filled at a slower pace.

RulesEarly in July, Germany’s lower house of parliament or Bundestag passed a plan to turn off the hot water in its offices and keep the air temperature no higher than 20C in the winter. This limit is merely recommended for households.

However homeowners will not be allowed to heat private pools with gas “this winter”, according to government plans, while a regulation requiring minimum temperatures in rented homes is expected to be suspended “so that tenants who want to save energy and turn down the heating are allowed to do so”.

As well as national rules, many German cities have also adopted their own energy-savings plans.

The Bavarian city of Augsburg, for example, has turned off its fountains, dimmed the facades of public buildings at night and is debating switching off some under-used traffic lights – and a housing cooperative in Dresden made national headlines when it announced it would limit hot water to certain times of day.

With certain exceptions, public buildings in Berlin will not have heating from April to the end of September each year, with room temperatures limited to a maximum of 20C for the rest of the year. In areas such as warehouses, technical rooms, corridors, the maximum will range from 10 to 15C.

Private enterprise has been getting in on the act too – Vonovia, Germany’s largest property group, plans to limit the temperature in its 350,000 homes to a maximum of 17C at night.

The head of consumer chemicals group Henkel has said that work-from-home practices may be reintroduced, while chemicals giant BASF has raised the possibility of putting its employees on furlough.

Recommendations – Economy Minister Robert Habeck has made headlines for extolling the virtues of shorter, colder showers.


France has an ambitious plan to cut its energy usage by 10 percent within two years and a government plan for sobriété énergétique (energy sobriety) is expected by September.

In the meantime, some rules have already been put in place while there are also some official recommendations. The general principle is that changes will be obligatory for government buildings and businesses, but voluntary for private households. 

Rules – In 2013, a law obliging businesses to switch off outside lights by 1am came into force. That deadline may be brought forward and towns and villages may have to switch off streetlights earlier – some areas have already taken this decision.

Shops that have air conditioning may not leave their doors open, so that less energy is lost.

Limits have been suggested for heating and air conditioning – keep heating to a maximum of 19C and air con to a minimum of 26C at the height of summer. The Prime Minister says she ‘expects’ government buildings to show an example and adhere to these, but they are voluntary for households.

Meanwhile, the heads of large supermarket chains in France have made a voluntary agreement for all stores to employ energy-saving techniques, such as turning off electric signs at closing times, reducing light usage, and managing store temperatures, from October 15th this year. They will also cut lighting by half before opening time, and by 30 percent during “critical consumption periods”.

Additionally, they will “cut off air renewal at night” and “lower the temperature in outlets to 17C this autumn and winter, if requested by a regulatory authority”.

Recommendations – The government has urged individuals to adopt energy-saving practices – by switching off wifi routers when on holiday, turning off lights, unplugging electric appliances when not in use, and lowering the air-con.

France’s energy transition minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher has urged people to keep heating to a maximum of 19C and air con to a minimum of 26C at the height of summer.


Spain has introduced perhaps the most wide-ranging set of rules in its new energy-saving bill, which comes into force on August 10th.

Public buildings as well as shops, restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, transport hubs and cultural spaces must:

  • Set heating and cooling temperatures to limits of 19C and 27C respectively;
  • Install doors that automatically close by September 30th to prevent energy waste, as can happen with regular doors that are left open;
  • Lights in shop windows must be turned off by 10pm;
  • Posters must be put up to explain the energy saving measures in every building or establishment, and thermometers must be displayed to show the temperature and humidity of the room.

READ ALSO: Is it realistic for Spain to set the air con limit at 27C during summer?

Recommendations – the above rules do not apply to private homes, but it is recommended to follow the heating and cooling limits.

Meanwhile, working from home is recommended for large companies and public administration buildings to help “save on the displacement and thermal consumption of buildings”, Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said.

And have you thought about your outfit? Here’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez explaining why he’s ditching his tie to stay a little bit cooler.


Back in April the Italian government approved limits on the use of air conditioning in public offices and schools from May 1st, to save energy and wean itself off reliance on Russian gas imports.

At the time Ministers said that Italy would be able to end its reliance on Russian gas within 18 months, after previously giving a timeframe of at least two years.

Rules – In public buildings, energy use will be measured in individual rooms of each building – the temperature must not exceed 19C in winter and cannot be any lower than 27C in summer, with a margin of tolerance of two degrees – meaning the lowest allowed temperature is actually 25C.

Fines for non-compliance with the rules are said to range from €500 to €3,000. The measure does not currently apply to clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.

Italy has long had rules in place limiting the usage of heating in homes and public buildings during winter. Northern and mountainous areas are allowed to switch on the heat in October, while some parts of the south can’t turn up the dial until December.

Even then, there are limits on how long you’re allowed to keep the central heating on each day, ranging from six hours in the warmest parts of the country to 14 hours in chillier regions.

And there are rules on maximum temperatures – private homes, offices and schools should not be heated to more than 20C, with a 2C tolerance. Meanwhile factories and workshops should generally be kept at 18C.


The Austrian government has said it will work on measures to encourage energy saving among households and businesses while putting a cap on electricity prices.

The aim is to “support the Austrian population to ensure unaffordable energy supply for a certain basic need”, according to a government statement. 

The government didn’t give details on the price cap but said that conditions would be developed by the end of August.


Sweden has announced no new measures in response to the energy crisis, but already has certain limits in place. 

Many Swedish apartment buildings and housing cooperatives have a strict maximum heating limit of 21C indoors and in some buildings radiators have a limiter on them so they cannot be turned too high.

In Denmark, too, the government has introduced no specific new measures.


In common with other countries, Switzerland is at risk of a gas shortage this winter and the government has warned that restrictions on consumption during the coldest months cannot be excluded.

Nearly half of its annual supply is of Russian origin. “We are not an island, so the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis also affect Switzerland,” Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said at the end of June. “In this context, there is no certainty about what awaits us.”

The possibility that Swiss households will have to turn down the thermostat this winter is very real. 

In the event of an actual shortage, “consumption restrictions may be ordered, for example restrictions on the heating of unoccupied buildings. The switching to biofuel could be imposed by ordinance”, Economy Minister Guy Parmelin has said.

If shortages persist, a quota system would be implemented – with households and essential services, such as hospitals, among the last to be affected.

But Parmelin insisted, “the role of the State is to guarantee a good supply of gas and electricity to the country. We want at all costs to avoid a disruption in supply, which would have a strong impact on businesses and  would then lead to an economic crisis”.


Less reliant on Russian gas because of its own gas reserves, the UK is currently less worried about supply than price – soaring utility bills may force many households into poverty this winter, campaigners have warned.

Households in the UK will start receiving a discount worth a total £400 (€478) off their energy bills from October, the British government has said, with the support package rises to £1,200 (€1,430) for the poorest households.

A recent report by National Grid said there was little chance of the lights going out in the UK this winter – though experts have warned that a severe cold spell could prompt action, such as shutdowns of non-critical factory operations, to ensure homes can be heated.