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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Find out what's going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Oslo Opera House
Read about a shortage of Kindergarten teachers, the spread of Covid being likely to increase in the short term and why Norway could face a power deficit by 2027 in today's roundup. Pictured is Oslo Opera House. Photo by Tommaso Curre on Unsplash

Kindergartens lacking teachers

Three out of ten kindergartens in Norway have too many children per kindergarten teacher, a survey has found.

“It just means that we must intensify the work to increase the proportion of educators in kindergartens. The municipal economy has been strengthened in this year’s state budget, but we must do more to approach a fulfilment of the requirements,” Tonje Brenna, education minister, told newspaper VG.

In Norway, there must be at least one qualified teacher per child when the children are under three years old and at least one pedagogical education professional per 14 kindergarten kids when the children are older than three.

Brenna said that the government would adopt a new strategy for kindergartens.

READ MORE: Everything parents in Norway need to know about preschool

Strong financial results for Statkraft

High energy prices have resulted in strong end of year financial results for state-owned hydropower company Statkraft.

Figures for the fourth quarter last year show that the firm achieved an operating profit of 9.3 billion kroner. That is 7.8 billion more than the same quarter a year before.

Last year the firm achieved a profit of 16.1 billion, quadrupling its results from the year before.

Norway’s power surplus could disappear in five years

Within the next five years, much of Norway’s power surplus will be depleted, public broadcaster NRK reports.

By 2026 southern Norway could even achieve a power deficit, Statnett, the state-owned firm responsible for operating the power grid in Norway, said in a report published late last year.

This, in turn, would lead to higher electricity prices.

A group of 27 consumer, industry and environmental organisations have told NRK that more localised energy production, such as solar panels, and better energy efficiency would ease any potential fears of a power deficit.

The group has asked the government to set aside 1 billion kroner a year for energy-saving measures.

Spread of Covid in Norway continues to increase

Coronavirus continues to spread in much of the country, but the peak has not yet been reached in most areas, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has said in its latest weekly report on the virus.

The NIPH also said that the lifting of restrictions was likely to intensify the epidemic’s growth.

The NIPH said it expected more patients to be admitted to hospital and a moderate increase of Covid patients being moved to intensive care units.

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday 

Fatal traffic accidents, a Covid cash row and projects facing postponements are among the main stories from Norway on Monday. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday 

Several dead after traffic accidents

Four people died, and two were flown to hospital following an accident in the Steigen tunnel, Nordland, north Norway, on Sunday afternoon.

 Another two died in an accident in Voss earlier on Sunday. Four people involved in the collision were sent to hospital. 

“We are at full speed into the season where there are usually more fatal accidents than in other periods of the year,” Cecilie Bryner from Trygg Trafikk, which promotes safe driving, said to newswire NTB. 

37 people have lost their lives on Norwegian roads so far this year. Last year, 87 died in accidents. 

Deadline for agricultural settlement

The deadline for the state and agricultural sector to agree on subsidies and funding is today. 

The farmers demand 11.5 billion kroner from the government, while the state has only offered 10.15 billion. 

The two parties have remained tight-lipped on how close they are to a possible agreement or what’s being negotiated.

This year’s settlement is considered far more complicated than during a typical year. The agreement is supposed to cover farmers’ incomes for 2023 and cover the cost of soaring prices and inflation in 2022, agricultural paper Nationen writes. 

Norway’s municipalities in Covid cash row 

A row has erupted between the government and Norwegian municipalities as funding promised to help cover the bill for Covid to local authorities was not included in the revised national budget for 2022, public broadcaster NRK reports

Several municipalities have hit out at the government as a result. 

Norway’s Minister of Local Government, Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, defended the budget and said there wasn’t a cash flow problem in Norwegian municipalities and that things should “happen in the right order”. 

This opens the door for compensation to be agreed upon after a report on Covid expenditure is published in September. 

READ MORE: What the revised national budget in Norway means for foreigners

Road projects could be pushed back 

Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård has said that less money will be spent on road construction next year and that large national projects could be put on hold or scaled back. 

“We will need to review our priorities because there will probably be less money than planned for transport,” Nygård told newspaper VG

The minister didn’t say which projects were most likely to be put on the backburner, but it was most likely those that were still in the planning and preparation stages.