Tag Archives: Monica Mæland

‘WE NEED CONCRETE ACTIONS, NOT GOOD THOUGHTS’: Two key ministers visit Svalbard during two-week period, but pleas for immediate help coming up short as they focus on fall plans

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The pleas by local political and business leaders for additional immediate help due to the crippling economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t getting much traction, but with one top minister just completing a visit to Longyearbyen and another minister scheduled to come soon at least they’re listening as the Norwegian government assesses measures to help distressed communities this fall.

GOVERNMENT ‘COMING UP WITH’ CRISIS BENEFIT PLAN FOR SVALBARD: Justice minister says help will be offered for ‘exempt’ employees, but specifics pending

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Norway’s government is coming up with a plan to provide emergency coronavirus-related aid to the large population of foreign residents in Svalbard exempt from benefits being provided to others in Norway, although specifics are pending, Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland said Friday.

At one level the announcement is merely formal compliance with a mandate approved by Parliament on Thursday to develop such an aid proposal, which would then have to be approved by lawmakers. But it’s also an indication Mæland, who has extensive experience dealing with Longyearbyen’s economic and jobs crisis the past several years due to near total loss of coal mining, is aware of the unique issues that exist for Svalbard and the type of assistance needed.

ROUGH JUSTICE: Monica Mæland presided over the shutdown of most of Svalbard’s mining; she’s now the archipelago’s new ‘ruler’ after the collapse of Norway’s government last week

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Since her most notable Svalbard moment is a horde of emotionally-charged torch-wielding citizens cornering her in a dark parking lot, Monica Mæland is at the very least well-qualified to cope with tumultuous times after being named “ruler” of the archipelago in the wake of the collapse of Norway’s government last week.

Higher price of failure: Shutdown of Store Norske mines will cost far more, take longer than thought, minister says

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It turns out shutting down and dismantling the Svea and Lunckefjell is going to cost a lot more than expected. With Parliament scheduled to debate the issue Thursday, at what point does the cost get so high it would be more sensible to spend the money reopening the mines?

Apparently, never, according to the head of Store Norske.

Lots of fire, but no heat? Hundreds of torch-carrying protesters object to mine shutdowns, but trade minister stands by proposal

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The government’s spin is the mines may be closing permanently, but there will be significantly more jobs locally during the shutdown period as Longyearbyen attempts to transition its economy. It doesn’t appear many locals are buying the argument.

Scrappy birthday: Government proposes giving Store Norske 244M more in funding, loans to cope with debt

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It might not be the gift Store Norske wants, but it’s apparently the gift the company needs on its 100th birthday as the Norwegian government is proposing giving the company an additional 244 million kroner in funding and loans to allow the company to refinance existing debt.

Swampland in Svalbard? Norway buys Austre Adventfjord, ‘underscores the government mess in the archipelago’

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So it won’t be a Chinese holiday village after all. And it seems implausible those 20 million tons of coal will ever be mined. So just what is Norway going to do with all that land across from Longyearbyen, assuming Parliament approves a deal to purchase it for 300 million kroner?

Home fires: Rentals continue to be scarce and costly despite layoffs; politicians point fingers at who’s to blame

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There’s lots of newly-built housing, people are being laid off by the hundreds – yet places available for rent are extremely rare and costly

Dozens of Longyearbyen residents have scrambled to find housing on short notice during the past couple of months due to the destruction of 11 homes in the Dec. 19 avalanche and the 30 tenants at Gamle Sykehuset forced to suddenly evacuate their apartments last month. While most appear to have found at least temporary housing, the shortage has touched off a political feud about who’s responsible for the situation and how it should be addressed.

Random weirdness for the week of March 1, 2016

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We’ve long stated Longyearbyen residents are a bit dim in a way since, while the first sunrise after the three-and-a-half-month polar winter was Feb. 16, we don’t actually celebrate the first appearance of the sun until March 8. But here’s a real mental fuse-blower as everyone gears up for this year’s nine-day Solfestuka festival:

High price of failure: Government recommends additional 749M kroner in aid, loans for Store Norske over four years

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The price of keeping Store Norske barely alive keeps increasing, with the government now asking Parliament for 749 million kroner during the next four years to support operations at Mine 7 and maintenance of two larger mines in the hope coal prices recover.