Tag Archives: Parliament

NORWAY’S GOV’T GETS ‘GREEN’ LIGHT FOR CHANGE – WILL IT AFFECT SVALBARD? Labor to replace Conservatives after election, but local policies and Arctic oil drilling likely to go on

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Photo of incoming Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Longearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen by Marte Kristiansen / Norwegian Labor Party

Norway’s government is changing as the Labor Party is set to replace the Conservative-led coalition after last Monday’s election. But the governing of Svalbard likely won’t change in most matters despite climate and environmental issues dominating the campaign, according to local officials and others familiar with the archipelago’s politics.

Still, potential changes in environmental and/or economic actions such as oil exploration in the waters around Svalbard could have significant long-term impacts – but analysts are at polar opposites predicting if that will happen.

40M KR. MORE IN CRISIS AID FOR SVALBARD: Parliament approves increase in general fund allocation for archipelago, intended to help tourism companies hurt by COVID-19

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The latest and perhaps simplest of several emergency measures intended to help Svalbard cope with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was approved by Parliament on Tuesday, which provided 40 million kroner intended to help the decimated tourism industry by increasing the general fund allocation for the archipelago in this year’s national budget by about 10 percent.

40M KR. MORE IN EMERGENCY COVID-19 AID FOR SVALBARD? Finance committee unanimously recommends tourism-oriented package to Parliament, which will consider it Tuesday

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In what might called an instance of the “Progress Party” living up to its literal name, a proposal by local members for an additional 40 million kroner in emergency COVID-19 aid for Svalbard tourism companies affected by the pandemic was unanimously approved by Parliament’s Finance Committee on Friday and is scheduled to be considered by the full body on Tuesday.

PARLIAMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO ‘YES’ FOR SVALBARD CRISIS AID: Government asked to draft plan to help residents excluded from benefits, fund public work/services

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Svalbard residents, particularly the high ratio of those in Longyearbyen exempt from unemployment/insurance benefits provided to those on the mainland due to the coronavirus pandemic, got an encouraging first step toward some type of assistance as Parliament on Thursday asked the government to come up with a plan specifically aiding those in the archipelago affected by the crisis.

However, what remains to be seen is how much and what type(s) of aid the government proposes, and if Parliament will actually approve the measures.

‘How does a mom explain?’: Trym Aunevik, 16, lifelong Longyearbyen resident and champion swimmer, told he must finish school on mainland because he has Down’s Syndrome

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Trym Aunevik, 16, is a national champion swimmer who a month ago proved fit enough to be one of four teens representing Norway in next year’s Special Olympic World Games. But the government has decided he is not fit to continue attending school in his lifelong hometown of Longyearbyen because he has Down’s Syndrome and the school lacks a special education program.

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.

Mining and/or tourism? Government friend and/or foe? Store Norske’s unpredictable future takes more volatile turns

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The question used to be what options, if any, were possible at Svea since coal mining was shutting down. Now the dilemma is it might be possible to have mining and other new activities already occurring – but government officials who’ve been so supportive in the past might block some or all of those options this time.

Goals of the alt-white: Officials urge funding avalanche safeguards, defining Store Norske’s future in revised ‘white paper’

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Build a wall – or at least a few barriers – to prevent unwanted intrusions. Give the coal mining industry a new life. Embrace the Russians while seeking solutions for dangerous territory.

No, Svalbard likely won’t look like Donald Trump’s American, but the proposals were part of the revised “white paper” for Svalbard debated by Parliament on Tuesday. The document  outlining policy goals for Svalbard is being updated three years earlier than expected due to a coal price crisis that has shut down nearly all Norwegian operations here.

Under development: Government’s proposed budget for Svalbard in 2017 boosts science and airport security, omits avalanche projects – for now

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New scientific research facilities and a few new officers to boost airport security are in. Avalanche-related construction projects are out – for now, although that might change during the next few weeks.

Power hungry: 20 witnesses detail Svalbard’s future needs during Parliament hearing on revised ‘white paper’

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It’s a long wish list and not exactly new, but now it’s officially on the agenda of the deciders.

An underwater power cable from the mainland, revised air traffic regulations, speeding up development of the fishing industry, investing heavily in infrastructure and figuring out what to do with Store Norske were among the many items presented by 20 witnesses last week during a hearing by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.