Farming organizations come to the table

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Norway’s two most powerful farming lobbies dropped threats of refusing to negotiate their financial support demands with state officials, and agreed to come to the bargaining table after all. The aim is to reach a settlement by the end of the week.

The farmers were upset that the government only offered a tenth of what they’d demanded in the form of direct subsidy and regulations that protect them from foreign competition. The farmers sought NOK 950 million but were only offered the equivalent of NOK 90 million.

They thus threatened to refuse to negotiate even though state officials claimed the two sides had a “good starting point” for coming to terms. By immediately rejecting the state’s offer and refusing to negotiate, the conflict would have gone to Parliament for resolution.

The farmers relented just before the weekend, though. “We expect the government to exhibit considerable willingness to negotiate,” Lars Petter Bartnes, leader of the farmers’ lobbying group and trade organization Norges Bondelag, told news bureau NTB.

Merete Furuberg, leader of the other national farming organization, Norsk Bonde- og Småbrukarlag, called the initial offer from the state “very poor.” Therefore, she told NTB, “we must start negotiations, to see the government’s final card.”

The two organizations spent late last week gathering reaction to the state’s offer, and the two sides planned to launch talks over the weekend.

newsinenglish.no staff