Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Norwegian government reaches a budget agreement, huge losses for airline SAS and the wine monopoly turning 100 are among the headlines from Norway on Wednesday.
The government and Socialist Left Party agree on 2023 budget
On Tuesday evening, the coalition government and the Socialist Left Party agreed on a budget for 2023 after weeks of talks and negotiations. At a press conference, the three parties said that the budget would put money in the hands of the most disadvantaged.
"This budget will help us get through the challenging times we are in together," PM Jonas Gahr Støre said to the media.
Among the key changes, the government will not allow gas exploration in untapped areas from 2025, second graders will get 12 hours of afterschool activities for free, and support for the most disadvantaged will increase.
The next step is passing the budget through parliament.
The government to press on with plans to introduce tuition fees for international students
Students from non-EEA countries will need to begin paying tuition fees from 2023 under the agreed budget.
Mina Haugli, the communications adviser for the Labour Party's parliamentary group, told The Local that there had been no changes to the proposal to introduce tuition during budget talks with the Socialist Left Party.
The confirmation comes after the Socialist Left Party said they wouldn't discuss the topic despite being publicly opposed to the policy.
Wine monopoly turns 100
One of Norway's oldest, and perhaps strangest, institutions celebrates a landmark birthday today. The country's state-owned wine monopoly officially opened its doors to the public for the first time 100 years ago today.
The sale of all alcohol 4.75 percent or stronger is prohibited and restricted to Vinmonopolet, or the wine monopoly.
The government set up the wine monopoly at the time to combat alcoholism by regulating the sale of alcohol. The move came after an earlier liquor ban was dropped.
SAS with heavy loss
Net losses amounted to more than 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($117 million) in the August-October period, compared to a loss of 744 million kronor a year
earlier, the company said in a statement.
"In the last quarter, we were hit very hard by changes in exchange rates. This is because we value many of our assets in dollars and when the exchange rate changes, we account for major changes, but the basic operations are improving at SAS," Kjetil Håbjørg, CEO of SAS Norway, told public broadcaster NRK.
In the firm's fourth quarter, the airline made a loss of around 1 billion Norwegian kroner. The crisis-hit airline has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the US.