New Year For Members

What did Norway's Prime Minister say in his New Year speech?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
What did Norway's Prime Minister say in his New Year speech?
Photo by Zoritsa Valova / Unsplash

In his New Year's speech, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that the turmoil from 2022 would accompany society into 2023 and encouraged Norwegians to stick together.


"What we have long taken for granted, such as progress and stability, is no longer taken for granted. We get worried when there is war in our immediate areas. When interest rates rise. When everything we need becomes more expensive. And when it becomes more difficult to make plans for the future.

"Then, it is even more important that we stand together in our country," Støre said in the televised New Year speech on the first day of the year.

"The turmoil we felt in 2022 is still here," he noted.

The Prime Minister said Norway successfully got through the coronavirus pandemic and would also find a way to overcome its current challenges.


No shame in asking for help

Prime Minister Støre stated that those who openly said they were poor and asked for help in the last year showed courage, the news bureau NTB reports.

"It can also be difficult in one of the world's richest countries. Although we would prefer to be self-sufficient and not be a burden (to others), asking for help is not something we should be ashamed of. But no single person can do everything," he said.

In addition to neighbours, family, and colleagues that can help, there is also a robust welfare state in the country, Støre pointed out.

"We have built it up over generations. The welfare state is there to be used... If we are to get through difficult times, we must take care of each other and use the resources that stem from a strong community," he said.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the value of work and the "fundamental Norwegian value of doing your duty and demanding your rights".

"In that order," he pointed out.

Support for Ukraine

The Prime Minister promised that Norway would continue to help Ukraine to defend itself and provide emergency aid in the coming year.

Norway took in some 35,000 Ukrainian refugees last year, Støre pointed out, warning that the same number could be accepted in 2023.

He recognized the efforts in local communities that have given the refugees a home and work.

"Millions of Ukrainians are fleeing the horrors of war. Others now face the cold winter in Ukraine without water and electricity.

"On behalf of Norway, I have told President Zelenskyj that the Ukrainians' struggle is also our struggle. They defend the right to freedom, democracy and independence," Støre said.

"Last year, I met many Ukrainian refugees around Norway. Narek was one of them. After only a few weeks in Bergen, he got a job at a restaurant not far from Bryggen.

"He served me a traditional Bergen dish. He proudly told me that he had just learned the recipe. The restaurant owner said they did not regret giving Narek a job. I hope more people find the opportunity to offer Ukrainians a job in our country," Støre added.


"Don't be afraid"

At the same time, the Prime Minister encouraged Norwegians to stand together against hatred and incitement to hate here at home, referring to the shooting during the Pride parade in Oslo in June.

He highlighted the message from the married couple Karoline and Tina, who received hate mail in their mailbox in Valdres. After coming out with the story, they received a lot of support.

"Next year we will do like Karoline and Tina. Don't be afraid, don't pull away... Even though it can sometimes be uncomfortable, we will invest in some of the best and strongest things we have, our community and (sense of) togetherness," Støre said.


He also highlighted the importance of unity, optimism, and love.

"11-year-old Embla from Bergen gave the children's New Year's speech yesterday. She visited me in my office a few weeks ago and gave me advice on my New Year's speech. I will quote her because she said it so well: 'Why swear when you can praise? Why hate when you can love?'

"It is the sum of our actions and attitudes that shape who we are as a community. Although we are different. Young and old. From the city and the countryside. Have different beliefs. Vote for different political parties. And experience demanding times in different ways.

"Together, we can choose unity related to everything we have in common over the fear of what is different. Truth over fake news. And understanding rather than condemnation… Be generous with each other and ourselves," Støre concluded.



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