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Norway’s exit strategy for the coronavirus crisis – producing more and making working life more inclusive

Today, the Norwegian Government has presented an economic package to strengthen the position of Norwegian businesses and workplaces and promote green transformation of the economy. This is Norway’s road out of the coronavirus crisis.

‘We are now presenting measures to get people back to work, boost activity in the Norwegian economy and promote long-term value creation in the private sector. This will strengthen the basis for maintaining welfare state in the future. We want the country to be as well prepared as possible to meet the ‘new normal’ after the crisis. We must produce more and include more people in working life. Together we must pull Norway out of the crisis and into the future,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

The main thrust of Norway’s exit strategy is to provide a good framework so that the private sector can create more jobs and get furloughed employees back to work, and in this way prevent unemployment from becoming entrenched.

‘Now that we have the spread of infection under control and are gradually reopening society, we are also stepping up our efforts to relaunch the Norwegian economy. We need to adjust the economic measures that worked well when much of Norway was closed, or replace them with measures that encourage activity and jobs. We must provide businesses with the assurance they need to give more people jobs, to expand and to invest in new markets,’ said Minister of Finance Jan Tore Saner.

The measures presented today are also intended to put the Norwegian economy in an even better position to carry out renewal and restructuring.  

‘The challenges we were facing before the crisis have not gone away. We must use this opportunity to learn, restructure and lay the foundation for green growth that will reduce emissions,’ said Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø.

Lengthy furloughs increase the risk that people will end up permanently unemployed. This is why the primary goal of the economic measures is to help people back to work. It also necessary to consider the situation in the labour market as a whole, and remember that everyone needs to feel that their own financial situation is secure.

‘We are maintaining arrangements that ensure that families and employees have an income. In addition, we are proposing new measures that will enable more people to take part in working life. We know how important it is both for individual people and for our welfare-based society as a whole that everyone has the opportunity to contribute where they can,’ said Minister of Children and Families Kjell Ingolf Ropstad.

The strategy and measures the Government is proposing are split into five priority areas:

  1. Measures to get people back to work.
  2. Measures to encourage diversification.
  3. Measures to create a green future.
  4. Measures in the education sector.
  5. Measures to include more people in working life.

In this phase of the crisis, some sectors of the Norwegian economy will quickly experience growth, while others will struggle because of reduced demand, low oil prices and a weak international economy. In addition, some sectors are still subject to restrictions that are limiting activity. The package of measures being presented today is therefore more complex than earlier packages.

  • Some measures are being altered or phased out because they are no longer appropriate now that the situation has changed.
  • Some new measures are being proposed because they will do more to promote activity, growth and employment.
  • Some new measures are being proposed for sectors that are still particularly hard hit.
  • Some measures are being expanded or proposed to ensure that critical public functions such as the health service and the municipalities can continue to fulfil their vital roles in the current situation.  

These measures build on the robust packages of measures the Government has presented earlier.

The effects of the steps being taken to reopen Norwegian society on economic developments and on specific sectors will become more apparent as time goes on. It will then be possible to determine whether other measures are needed and how they should be designed.

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