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Norway, balance between the coalitions

Easing the tax burden is one of the proposals that have enabled the center-to overcome Labor, but form the executive will be a difficult task



The appreciation towards Jens Stoltenberg seemed to have sheltered the Centre-Left from all the temptations offered to the Norwegians by the opposition, as the promise of easing the tax burden: things have turned out differently, more and more people have ascribed the economic prosperity enjoyed during the two terms of office (from 2005 to present) to events such as the new oil extractions in the Barents Sea or to the new reserves in the North Sea.

After eight years when the Labour Party (still in first place, retaining the thirty-one per cent of the votes) seemed to be back to its former identification with the state as in the fifteen years after World War II, on September 9th it was the turn of Conservatives (Høyre) to take over the government thanks to Erna Solberg, born 52 years ago in Bergen. The new leader reassures that the basics of the Nordic social model won’t be affected: “we are a liberal party, we do not make revolutions”.

In a country that keeps a growth of 2.5 per cent and an unemployment rate limited to 3 percent, everyone believes that healthcare and education should remain public, but impatience is growing about the tie that  binds the government to annually spend no more of 4 percent drawn from economic return of the sovereign wealth fund (that has now reached 750 billion dollars and that is devised to deliver to future generations a welfare comparable to the existing one). Showing different degrees of caution, Centre-Right’s political parties plan to use a larger portion of annual revenues of the fund to improve infrastructure, healthcare, public services and education.

Aldo Ciummo



This is the Barroso Speech just delivered to the press by the Directorate General Communication of the European Commission

Delivering the first ever State of the Union Address, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso has stated that  “My message to each and every European is that you can trust the European Union to do what it takes to secure your future”

President Barroso sets out his assessment of the state of the Union and calls for the European Union to fast-track its reform agenda .

President Barroso makes the following remarks


On the current economic situation

“The economic outlook today is better than one year ago, not in the least as a result of our determined action. But our work is not finished. We must accelerate our reform agenda.

A debt generation is an unsustainable nation

We will present the most urgent legislative proposals on economic governanceon 29 September

We will match monetary union with true economic union

I am also defending taxes on financial activities and we will come with proposals this Autumn”


On restoring growth for jobs

“We need to get more people in jobs, boost our companies’ competitiveness and deepen the single market

I want a European Union that helps its people to seize new opportunities; and I want a Union that is social and inclusive

After decades of discussion on the patent, it is time to decide

Next month we will set out how to deepen the Single Market in a comprehensive and ambitious Single Market Act

Over the next year, we will bring forward an energy action plan, an infrastructure package and an energy efficiency action plan to put this vision in place. I myself will travel to the Caspian region later this year to promote the Southern Corridor as a means of enhancing our security of supply.”


On an area of freedom, security and justice

“Europeans will find that their fundamental rights and obligations exist wherever they go. ”


On the future budget of the European Union

“We need to spend our money where we get most value for it. And we should invest it where it leverages growth and delivers on our European agenda. The quality of spending should be the yardstick for us all.

Europe offers real added value. That is why I will be pushing for an ambitious post-2013 budget for Europe. 

We should also explore new sources of financing for major European infrastructure projects. For instance, I will propose the establishment of EU project bonds, together with the European Investment Bank. ”


On how the Union pulls its weight on global stage

“Our partners are watching and are expecting us to engage as Europe, not just as 27 individual countries. If we don’t act together, Europe will not be a force in the world, and they will move on without us: without Europe and without its Member States.

The next two months will see crucial Summits with strategic partners. The more we are able to establish a common agenda with a clearly defined European interest, the more we will achieve. For example, I see huge potential in developing a transatlantic agenda for growth and jobs.

We now need to pool them to create a real European crisis response capacity. This is what the Commission will propose in October.”

In President Barroso’s concluding remarks he states

“At the end of the day, we are all in the same boat. The Union will not achieve its objectives in Europe without the Member States. And the Member States will not achieve their objectives in the world without the European Union.   

The citizens of Europe expect us to take the action needed to get out of this crisis.

We must show them that the common efforts we are making today will lead to new jobs, new investments, and a Europe fit for the future.”