Package proposed for Ukrainian crisis
Norway faces “historic trial” with Ukraine war
The Armed Forces, the police, and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) are among those the government will provide more funding for in its Ukraine package.
“This will demand the best of us,” said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) at a press conference on the Ukraine war on April 1. “The consequences of this war will put us to a historical test.”
At the press conference, Støre and Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Center Party) presented a proposal for a crisis package at a total cost of NOK 14.4 billion. With it, the Armed Forces will receive an extra NOK 3 billion to quickly strengthen its ability to deter and defend Norway together with allies and partners. Støre emphasized that the invasion of Ukraine has shown that Russia is willing to use military force to achieve its goals.
“For Norwegian and European security, this is a clear turning point. It is now absolutely necessary that we quickly strengthen our defense capability to meet a changed security policy situation,” said the prime minister.
Offers settlement to the Storting
The UDI, the police and Directorate of Integration and Diversity will also receive NOK 7.1 billion extra to handle increased asylum arrivals. The measures to deal with the flow of refugees cost a total of NOK 10.7 billion and will make it possible for Norway to initially receive 30,000 refugees from Ukraine in addition to 5,000 refugees from other areas.
“As the atrocities continue and the numbers of refugees increase, there is no doubt: This will demand the best of us in what we can call the reception phase, and then in the phase when people will find their place in society, become someone’s neighbor, someone’s colleague, and be part of a local community,” said Støre.
During the press conference, Vedum invited the Storting to reach a broad agreement on the crisis package.
“I want to emphasize the tradition we have in Norway that when things are extra demanding, we try to find broad, unifying solutions in the Storting,” said Vedum.
“In Norway, we have a tradition of broad political consensus in demanding times. The extraordinary situation of war and millions of refugees in Europe means that the governing parties are taking the initiative to find a broad agreement on the immediate measures to meet the situation. That is why we are now inviting all the parties in the Storting to a meeting on the crisis bill,” said Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, fiscal policy spokesman in the Center Party and negotiator for the government for the crisis bill.
Fuel taxes part of negotiations
The Progress Party has warned that it will pull the high prices of gasoline and diesel into the negotiations in the Storting for the new Ukraine crisis package.
“It is very disappointing that the government has presented a crisis package without doing more to help most people and companies in Norway to cope with the sky-high prices for fuel, electricity, and food,” said the Progress Party’s fiscal policy spokespreson Hans Andreas Limi. “The Progress Party will include demands in the negotiations to remove fuel taxes.”
The Storting’s largest opposition party, the Conservative Party, said they are prepared to find solutions.
“I expect that the government will also come up with proposals for a solution. For the Conservative Party, it is important that the package is constructed in a financially responsible way that does not create too much pressure on the economy that can lead to even higher interest rates,” said parliamentary representative Helge Orten (Conservative Party).
This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.