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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

Norway's oil production, a tourist tax in Lofoten and electric cars are among the main news stories from Norway on Wednesday. 

Lofoten
Read about Lofoten, pictured below, wanting to introduce a tourist tax, how Norway handled the pandemic and the discount on tolls for electric cars facing the axe in today's roundup of important news.

Norway handled the pandemic well for the most part

Norway’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was given an overall positive scorecard in an official commission report published on Tuesday.

The Corona Commission, appointed to scrutinise the response of authorities and health services, on Tuesday published its final report on the country’s management of the pandemic.

The commission concluded that Norway’s response to the pandemic was generally good. The report notes that the Scandinavian country has one of the lowest Covid-19 death rates in Europe and limited the impact of the virus on economic activity.

Some criticism is included in the report. Authorities were not adequately prepared to deal with a pandemic of the magnitude Covid-19 proved to be.

READ MORE: How well did Norway handle the Covid-19 pandemic? 

Finance Minister: Norwegian oil and gas good for stability 

Norwegian oil and gas is Norway’s most important contribution to stability in Europe, Minister of Finance, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, has said. 

The minister’s comments come after Gazprom announced that it was cutting gas to Poland and Bulgaria. 

“Just think how the situation would have been in Europe today if they had not had the gas from Norway. There would’ve been a complete crisis in energy supplies,” Vedum told newspaper Klassekampen

Lofoten is looking at bringing in a tourist tax 

Lofoten, one of Norway’s most popular destinations, is mulling a tourist tax to help fund its local authorities, Public Broadcaster NRK reports

The money would help to repair trodden down hiking trails and pay for waste collection, Destination Lofoten has said. 

The government has previously said that it is open to launching a pilot scheme where local areas can implement a tourist tax. 

Among the proposals would be to send an invoice to drivers of vehicles not registered in the area. 

Line Renate Samuelsen, head of tourism at Destination Lofoten, told the public broadcaster that she felt it was unfair to label the scheme a tourist tax and said it was instead a way for visitors to ensure local wildlife is protected and that the authorities have the funds to provide the best possible experience. 

Toll discounts could be axed for electric cars 

The government is considering dropping or reducing the toll discount for electric cars in big cities, NRK reports

Under current rules, electric cars never pay more than half what petrol and diesel cars do when entering cities. However, Jon-Ivar Nygård has said that discount means authorities lose significant revenues and that public transport is beginning to lose out to electric vehicles. 

“When we are to reach the zero growth goal in the future and get people to use walking, cycling and public transport, we must have funding to expand it and ensure that we have measures to limit car use,” Nygård told NRK. 

The Minister of Transport has said that the final decision has not been made, and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration will look into the matter further. 

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For members

TODAY IN NORWAY

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.

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