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

The government set to earn windfall from high energy prices and fears interest rate rises could increase unemployment, plus other news from Norway on Thursday. 

Oslo Central Station from above.
Find out what's going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured: Oslo Central Station from above. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

The government could earn up to 73 billion kroner as the result of high energy prices

Extra income from soaring energy prices could result in a windfall of up to 73 billion kroner, figures from employer organisation Energi Norge show. 

The 73 billion kroner comes from 56 billion kroner in tax, three billion in VAT and 14 billion kroner in dividends from state-owned firms. 

This year, the Norwegian state will spend up to 41 billion kroner providing subsidies to households to help them cover rising electricity prices. 

When prices rise above 70 øre kWh, the government covers up to 90 percent of the bill. 

Key vocab: MVA– VAT

Interest rate hike could increase unemployment

National data agency Statistics Norway has warned that another interest rate from Norges Bank on Thursday would likely increase unemployment further down the line. 

“Increased interest rates and inflation, together with the decline in the international economy, will slow down the Norwegian economy and contribute to increased unemployment,” director of Statistics Norway Geir Axelsen told Norwegian newswire NTB. 

“We think there will be a slight increase at the end of the year already, while we estimate unemployment will be 3.6 per cent on average in 2023,” he added. 

Key vocabRenteheving– Interest rate hikes

Education Minister: Teachers’ strike serious

Norwegian Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna, has described the ongoing teachers’ strike as ‘serious’. 

“It is a serious situation, and the situation for the students becomes more serious the longer the strike lasts,” Brenna told reporters at an event on Wednesday. 

However, the government cannot currently intervene in the strike and force the two parties to a compulsory wage board as there is now not deemed to be a risk to life or health. 

Over 8,000 teachers in Norway have been on strike over wage growth in recent years. Yesterday, the Children’s Ombudsman wrote a letter to the government requesting they make an assessment of what would be in pupils’ best interests regarding the strike. 

Norway moves to be exempt from EU train privatisation rule

Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård has told Norwegian newswire NTB that the government has held constructive talks to be exempt from EU railway competition rules.

“We have given a clear statement to the European Commission about what the government’s view is on the requirement for competition,” Nygård said. 

“We have received constructive feedback that together we can look at the framework for the exception provisions in the regulations also after 2023, considering how this can be applied to Norwegian conditions,” he added. 

Previously, the government has said it wants to halt the privatisation of Norway’s railway network. 

Key vocab: Tog– train

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Norwegian Armed Forces criticized due to vulnerabilities that put national security at risk, new property price figures, and other news in Norway on Wednesday.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Auditor General criticizes Norway’s Armed Forces over national security at risk

The Office of the Auditor General of Norway (Riksrevisjonen) has identified weaknesses in the Norwegian Armed Forces’ communication systems, which could have significant consequences for the country’s national security.

“Today, the Office of the Auditor General puts forward one of the most serious reports we have ever presented,” Auditor General Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen said on Tuesday.

The report covers the communication and information systems used by the Armed Forces in operations. In its conclusion, the Office of the Auditor General issued its strongest form of criticism – characterizing the situation as “very serious,” a label not used since 2019.

“We’re issuing strong criticism as the weaknesses we uncovered can have major consequences for national security,” the Auditor-General noted.

Latest home price statistics

Real Estate Norway (Eiendom Norge) will present its latest home price statistics at 11:00 AM CET.

During the press conference, the organization is likely to announce details on the real estate market in Norway in September, as well as forecasts on the market’s development in the months ahead.

Flyr announces layoffs and route cuts in Norway

The Flyr airline is cutting domestic routes in Norway in an attempt to save around 400 million kroner ahead of the Winter season. The company also plans to lay off employees.

In a press release, Flyr noted that they plan to keep the routes to a number of popular European destinations in operation but that only a limited number of domestic routes in Norway will be maintained this Winter.

The company will gradually increase its domestic route offer again throughout the Spring and Summer of 2023.

“We are facing a challenging Winter (season)… as a result of a record number of interest rate increases, overall high price growth, and very high electricity prices. It hits us hard as an industry and company because even fewer people want to travel,” Flyr’s CEO Tonje Wikstrøm Frislid noted, adding that high fuel prices have also contributed to the planned cuts.

New water reservoir status update

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) will announce the latest figures related to the water reservoir filling status at 1:00 PM CET on Wednesday. At 2:00 PM, it will also present its report on the electricity situation in the country.

Electricity production in Norway is dependent on hydropower, so it needs to have enough water in the reservoirs to have sufficient energy through the Winter. Alternatively, it must be able to import the energy it needs.