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

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

A road and power line in Norway.
Read about the electricity support scheme, the government mulling to bar Russian ships from Norwegian ports and more in today's roundup of important news. Pictured is a road and powerlines. Photo by Anastasiya Dalenka on Unsplash

Government mulls closing ports to Russian ships 

In its latest round of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the EU has proposed closing its ports to Russian ships, and non-EU member Norway is considering following suit. 

“Norway stands together with the EU and other countries to ensure that the sanctions are strong and effective, and we will also implement this sanctions package. We will now review the proposals from the commission and assess whether there is a need for adjustments when the package is to be incorporated into Norwegian law,” Minister of Fisheries Bjørnar Skjæran told news wire NTB. 

Last week in an address to Norway’s parliament Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the country’s decision-makers to bar Russian ships from ports

Norway and Russia have various agreements on fishing in the Barents Sea, and PM Jonas Gahr Støre has said previously that banning Russian vessels may not be relevant. 

Electricity support to rise to 90 percent this autumn

Norway’s electricity support scheme will be increased to 90 percent this autumn and winter. This means the government will cover nine-tenths of the bill when the price of electricity is above 70 øre per kilowatt-hour. 

The electricity scheme has also been officially extended until March 2023. 

The Socialist Left Party, which the government has relied on to get a majority for its policy, has said it will push for the scheme to be further strengthened in the autumn. 

End of Covid business support may have led to a surge in bankruptcies

March saw the largest number of bankruptcies since November 2020. Analysts believe the end of the government’s Covid support scheme for businesses is part of the reason for the uptick, NTB reports. 

Last month just under 300 companies went bust, the highest monthly figure for 16 months. 

“Now that the support schemes no longer exist, it is natural that it has consequences for both individual companies and industries,” Julie Berg from Experian said in a statement. 

The highest number of bankruptcies were in the north. 

Government to open a new reception centre for asylum seekers

A new registration centre for asylum seekers is being set up in Gardermoen. The centre will be able to receive 200 asylum seekers a day, and it is planned to open on May 2nd, newswire NTB reports. 

The centre will help increase the country’s capacity to register refugees and work in conjunction with the reception centre in Råde. 

“The establishment of a new registration centre will increase the registration capacity of the Police Immigration Unit (PU) considerably when it is fully rigged and ready to receive Ukrainian asylum seekers,” Benedicte Bjørland said in a statement on the Norwegian Police Directorate’s website

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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.