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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

The GP system in Norway to undergo review, a windfall for Statnett and why low production is a sign energy measures are working are among the headlines from Norway on Thursday. 

Pictured are houses in Trondheim.
Find out what's going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local's short roundup of news in English. Pictured are houses in Trondheim. Photo by Jo Sorgenfri on Unsplash

Norway to review the current GP system

The government has tasked an expert committee to devise measures to improve the current GP scheme, it announced on Thursday morning. 

More than 175,000 residents are currently without a GP in Norway, according to the government. 

“The current action plan (to improve the GP system) has several good measures, but they have not had the desired effect. Then we have to think again, and we have to take new measures. We cannot continue on the same track and hope that the situation will resolve itself over time,” Minister of Health and Care Ingvild Kjerkol said. 

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said next year’s budget would include more funding for the GP scheme. 

Part of the expert committee’s objectives will be to develop proposals for how the GP system should be funded and organised.

In a survey of The Local’s readers on the Norwegian healthcare system, being left on a GP waiting system or struggling to get an appointment were two common issues. 

READ MORE: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?

Windfall for Statnett 

State-owned Statnett has announced record bottleneck revenues for July. It made around 3 billion kroner in bottleneck revenues in July, taking the total for the year to over 11 billion kroner. 

Bottleneck revenues is income that Statnett receives when electricity flows from one area to another. The difference between the prices in different regions goes to Statnett.

Last year, Statnett made 5.3 billion kroner from bottleneck revenues. Around 75 percent of Statnett’s revenues have come from bottlenecks this year, according to Europower

One silver lining for those paying record high prices for energy in Norway is that Statnett will eventually have to return the additional income from bottlenecks to customers

Low energy production is a sign that measures are working

Historically low energy production in the south is a sign that measures to ensure a sufficient energy supply in the winter are working, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland has said. 

“It is a positive development that shows that the power producers are holding on to water,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The low production output comes after the government asked producers to slow down production and provide regular updates on the power situation. 

Power production in eastern and south-west Norway fell to a historically low-level last week, according to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). 

Fears more could slip into fuel poverty this winter

The Norwegian Consumer Council fears that high energy prices could force more people into energy poverty. 

“Many consumers will have to save in other areas to pay the increased electricity costs, while others will struggle to cover the increased expenses”, Inger Lise Blyverket, director of the Consumer Council, said to the consumer rights group’s website.

The Consumer Council said that energy bills could double this year, and the poorest will likely be the hardest hit.

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TODAY IN NORWAY

Today in Norway: A roundup of the news on Thursday

A new state budget proposal, a European summit on the energy crisis and other news in Norway on Thursday.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the news on Thursday

State budget proposal for 2023

The Norwegian government will present its proposal for the state budget for 2023 on Thursday morning.

Several key figures from the proposal will be published even earlier, and Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, of the Centre Party, is set to hold a press conference at 12:30 PM CET.

Trygve Slagsvold Vedum

Norway’s Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum. Photo by Ragne B. Lysaker / Center Party / Press
 

Both Vedum and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre have repeatedly warned that this budget will be very tight and focused on “responsible economic policy” and “reduced use of Oil Fund money.”

Cheaper pre-school 

From August 1 this year, the maximum price for pre-school (kindergarten / nursery) places in Norway amounted to 3,050 kroner, according to the Directorate of Education.

In its new state budget proposal, the government wants to cut the maximum price to 3,000 kroner, Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (AP) told the newspaper Dagbladet.

The cut will apply from January 1.

Summit on the energy crisis, war in Ukraine, and economic situation

Politicians from 44 countries are expected to attend a summit in Prague, Czech Republic, between political leaders in EU and non-EU countries. Norway will also participate in the meeting, represented by Prime Minister Gahr Støre.

The summit will focus on the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, and Europe’s economic situation, and it will be the first meeting of the so-called European Political Community (EPF).

“The fact that so many European countries are gathering is a strong signal that we stand together against Russia’s warfare.

“Norway is now the largest supplier of gas to Europe, and therefore it is natural that I participate when the energy crisis is on the agenda,” Støre said on Wednesday.

Hurtigruten cruise ship in Ålesund evacuated after anonymous threat

On Wednesday, passengers of the Hurtigruten ship MS Nordnorge were evacuated in Ålesund after an anonymous threat was made in a phone call.

After carrying out an investigation, the police later clarified that the threat to the ship was not real.

The threat to the ship was described as vague, according to the police.

“As a precautionary measure, the ship contacted the police,” press contact Martin Henriksen in Hurtigruten told Dagbladet.

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