State budget talks extend into overtime

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Negotiations between the government and its two support parties continued on Wednesday, well past the deadline set last Friday and forcing postponement of any budget debate with opposition parties on the floor of Parliament.

The ongoing talks between the Conservatives’ and the Progress Party’s minority government coalition and the Christian Democrats and Liberals were also literally thrown into the dark when a major power failure hit large portions of Oslo including the Parliament.

“We have to acknowledge that the clock is running,” Hans Olav Syversen, the Christian Democrats’ finance policy spokesman told state broadcaster NRK, which reported that the four parties had yet to agree on an overall framework for the budget. That indicated that several thorny issues involving both cuts and tax levels remained unresolved. There’s been major disagreement over how the costs of the refugee influx in Norway should be covered, for example, and over how much money should be tapped from Norway’s so-called oil fund instead of raising taxes.

The Labour Party has its own alternative budget ready to defend as do other parties in opposition. When the lights went out at Parliament, one politician joked that calls to raise Norway’s tax on electricity suddenly had little support.

newsinenglish.no