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

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Find out what's going on in Norway on Wednesday with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured are the streets of Ålesund. Photo by Richard Kemp on Unsplash Photo by Richard Kemp on Unsplash

The majority supports King Harald sitting for life as he celebrates his 87th birthday, Norway no longer has the highest disposable income in Europe, and other news on Wednesday.


King Harald marks his 87th birthday with healthy public support

Norway's King Harald recently reiterated his desire to remain king for the rest of his life rather than abdicate, and it appears he also has the full backing of the Norwegian public to do so.

Almost two out of three told a poll by Norstat carried out on behalf of public broadcaster NRK that they support Harald's decision to sit on the throne for life.

Rumours swirled over whether Harald, who has suffered several health issues, would decide to follow in the footsteps of Danish Queen Margrethe II, who announced her shock abdication in her New Year's speech.

King Harald will celebrate his birthday privately on Wednesday.

Norway is no longer home to the highest disposable income in Europe

Norway has seen a fall in its residents' disposable income, according to figures from the EU's data agency Eurostat.

The country was placed sixth out of all the countries that the agency monitors. In 2022, Norway had been top.

A Norwegian household's disposable income, defined as gross income minus tax and interest expenses, was 7,475 euros in the third quarter of 2023. This has seen Norway overtaken by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

Roger Bjørnstad, chief economist for the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), said the drop was due to rising interest rates.


However, Øystein Dørum, the chief economist at the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), said the drop was due to the exchange rate.

READ ALSO: How much money do you need to earn in Norway for a good life in 2024?

Unions refuse to promise full backing of raised retirement age

Norway's government unveiled plans to raise the retirement age before Christmas, essentially planning to raise the age one year from the decade one was born, starting from those born in 1964.

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) has said several conditions need to be met for it to back the government's proposal.

It said it wanted an evaluation after ten years of the change, and unions would put their foot down if the scheme didn't work.

Furthermore, it said it wanted a hardship scheme in place for those who can no longer work because they are not in good health.

Norway's population tops 5.5 million

The Norwegian population grew by 61,219 people in 2023, figures from the national data agency Statistics Norway show.

Immigration and refugees arriving from Ukraine contributed to the population growth last year. In total, 86,600 people came to Norway from overseas. Of these, 33,000 were Ukrainian citizens.

"Thus, Ukrainians are the second largest group of foreign nationals in the country. In comparison, there are 111,100 Polish citizens, while 48,900 Lithuanians make up the third largest group," said a senior advisor at Statistics Norway Magnus Haug.

Ukrainians moving to northern Norway contributed to the largest population growth since 1970 in Nordland, 1986 in Finnmark and 2016 in Troms.


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