Prime Minister comments on budget talks

Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg talked about what the new government's main focus areas will be when they start to prepare this fall's state budget on Monday.

"Our focus will be tax reduction, education and public transit," Solberg said on Monday's press conference. She did not mention the Christian Democrats' and the Liberal Left Party's demand for an "environmentally friendly" state budget.  

Although neither the Liberal Left Party or the Christian Democrats are in government, their parties received a total of 5,2 and 5,6 percent in the last election, and the government depends on their support in order to achieve a majority for the new budget proposal.

Whereas the environment is a big priority for the Liberal Left Party and the Christian Democrats, the Progress Party and the Conservative Party did not mention it as one of their main priorities for the new budget. 

"Although we are in a better financial situation now than in many years, we have to prepare ourselves for a future that will give us as much job security as possible, as well as the best public sector possible," Solberg explained.

She said that Norway's competitive edge has been weakened, and that several large companies such as Statoil and Telenor are cutting their staff. Despite growth, there are imbalances in the Norwegian economy, especially in our competitiveness, Solberg pointed out. She said that Norwegian businesses need more tax cuts in order to get make more room for investments and research.

When asked about the Liberal Left and the Christian Democrats' demands, Solberg said that the new budget proposal will include both things that they have already agreed on, and some things that they do not agree on. 

"Our expectations are that they will strengthen the climate agreement and the investment in public transit. That is part of our agreement, and this has to be shown in their state budget proposal," says Head of the Energy and Environmental Committee at Parliament, Ola Elvestuen (The Liberal Left/Venstre).

(NRK)

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