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The speech from the throne by His Majesty The King on the occasion of the opening of the 164th session of the Storting

The Storting, 2 October 2019.

Madam President, Honourable Members,

I greet the Storting as it takes up its solemn responsibilities with the wish that the fulfilment of these duties will be of benefit to our country.

 

On 22 January this year, the Christian Democratic Party joined the coalition Government.

The political platform agreed by the parties at Granavolden provided the basis for broadening the coalition.

 

The political platform sets out the Government’s goal of building a sustainable welfare-based society.

If we are to succeed in this, more people need to work.

People must be able to live and work in all parts of the country.

More jobs will need to be created and policies will need to be more business-friendly.   

The Government will follow up its new strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Government will reduce costs for businesses by simplifying reporting requirements and red tape. The aim is to reduce costs for the business sector by NOK 10 billion in the period 2017-2021.

The Government will maintain its focus on promoting research, infrastructure, and a tax system that supports growth.   

Norway is a leading ocean nation. The updated ocean strategy, Blue Opportunities, was presented early this summer.  

The Government will make Norway a laboratory for developing blue industries and green maritime transport.

The Government will present a white paper on its maritime policy.

 

More people must acquire the skills needed to do the new jobs that are emerging.

More immigrants must be included in the labour market through better integration efforts.

We must also include more people who have fallen outside the labour market for other reasons.

The Government will step up its work on a skills reform, the ‘lifelong learning reform’, and will continue its efforts to promote inclusion and integration. 

The Government will implement a reform to improve the provision and coordination of public services for families with children who have complex needs.

The aim is to make everyday life easier for families that have, or are expecting, children with complex needs who require support from a range of services. Among other things, the documentation required when applying for various kinds of specialist equipment or aids for children with chronic or congenital conditions will be simplified.    

 

Ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same opportunities as us is an important goal in the Government’s political platform.

Record high temperatures all over the world, loss of biodiversity and a changing climate, which we are seeing here in Norway too, underline the gravity of the situation we are in.

Norway will shoulder its share of the responsibility for combating climate change.

The challenges we are facing can only be addressed through global cooperation. Norway will fulfil its climate commitments in cooperation with the EU.

The Government will continue to facilitate the ongoing renewal of Norway’s vehicle fleet and will follow up the action plan for green shipping.

A proposal to open areas for licence applications for offshore wind projects has been put out to public consultation.

The Government will continue its work to promote full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Norway. The aim is to present this work to the Storting in 2020 or 2021.   

At the international level, the Government will step up its efforts to promote climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

 

Social sustainability is also a key goal in the Government’s political platform.

The Government will work to maintain a high degree of social equality and trust between people in Norway.

The Government will work to reduce poverty and marginalisation. 

The Government’s key strategy in this regard is to get more people into work.  

Employment reduces poverty and social disparities.

A good school system and relevant knowledge and skills are crucial in order to create opportunities for all.

We are rethinking what should be taught in schools. New curriculums will be introduced in autumn 2020.

Policies must support families and make it easier for families to choose how to organise their own lives.

The Government will increase child benefit for the youngest children.

The Government will carry out a pilot project to enable more children aged 6-18 to take part in recreational activities.  

The Government will introduce a scheme offering reduced fees for after-school care in the first two years of primary school for children from low-income families.

This will give children from low-income families increased opportunities.

Immigration is an important cause of rising poverty and increasing inequality in Norway.  

The Government will continue to pursue a restrictive and responsible immigration policy in accordance with the rule of law.

The Government will continue to support efforts to help refugees in areas close to the places they have fled from, and to protect those in genuine need of protection.

The Government will draw up a number of action plans to strengthen Norway’s efforts to combat discrimination and hate speech.

 

Safeguarding security is another important goal in the Government’s political platform.

Security brings freedom and the space to develop and grow. 

The Government will strengthen Norway’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities. The work to establish a new rescue helicopter base in Troms county will begin. The police in North Norway will have civilian helicopter capacity. And HF coverage for emergency communications will be established in the Arctic.

The Government will give priority to implementing the police reform.

The goal of having two police officers to every 1 000 inhabitants will be achieved in 2020.

The aim is to make everyday life safer for people in Norway and to increase police effectiveness by making use of new technology and by adapting police efforts to a new crime landscape.  

The Government will intensify its efforts to combat work-related crime.

The Government will present a new national health and hospitals plan.  

The aim is to create a sustainable, patient-centred health service.

The Government will follow up its elderly care reform, ‘Leve hele livet’.

The aim of the reform is to ensure that the full range of elderly people’s basic needs – the need for food, activities and social interaction, and for healthcare and well-coordinated services – are met.

The Government will seek to increase the number of care places available for the elderly by promoting the construction of new elderly care facilities.

 

Binding international cooperation makes the world safer and more stable.

The challenges the world is facing are so great that no country can solve them alone.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a roadmap for Norway and the rest of the world.

 

The Government will support international cooperation at a time when it is under pressure.

The Government will work to ensure that the EEA Agreement continues to provide an effective framework for Norway’s participation in the single European market.

As things stand now, the UK looks set to leave the EU and the EEA, with or without an agreement.  

The Government has entered into agreements that will ensure the best possible and most predictable arrangements for Norwegian citizens and Norwegian businesses in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Work is under way to put in place permanent agreements.

Access to major markets is crucial for Norwegian jobs and welfare.

The Government will allocate 1 % of GNI to aid.

Efforts to achieve the SDGs on ending poverty and hunger will be strengthened.

Effective armed forces within a strong Alliance are vital for Norway’s security in uncertain times.

The Government will continue its efforts to strengthen Norway’s defence capabilities.

The Government aims to present its next Long-term Defence Plan in the spring.

NATO solidarity is the cornerstone of Norway’s security policy.

The Government will continue to cooperate closely with the US, the UK, Germany, France and our neighbouring countries in the Nordic-Baltic region.  

This cooperation will be increasingly important for safeguarding Norway’s security.  

 

The Government invites the Storting to engage in constructive cooperation to achieve these important goals, to the benefit of Norwegian society.  

 

I pray that God will bless the deliberations of this Storting, and I hereby declare the 164th session of the Storting to be open.

 

Given at the Royal Palace in Oslo on 27 September 2019

Under Our Hand and the Seal of the Realm

 

[ Edited 7 October 2019 ]

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