Even though Norway has been going through an economic slowdown, the government is once again boosting its spending on what’s diplomatically called “representation:” Receptions, parties and other forms of hospitality hosted by the state.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported over the weekend that the government wants to spend NOK 57 million (USD 7.1 million) on official partying. That’s up more than NOK 10 million from 2013, when Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s government took over.
The money will be used mostly by the Foreign Ministry to host and entertain official guests who are on officials visits to Norway. The budget allocation also covers the costs of running the recently remodelled government guest house, located in an historic mansion just behind the Royal Palace.
The government also plans to spend NOK 7 million alone celebrating the 80th birthdays of King Harald and Queen Sonja next year. The foreign ministry also expects to host at least one state visit plus several official visits in 2017.
Budget allocations for official partying have risen from NOK 5.4 million in 2002, when Labour’s Jens Stoltenberg was prime minister for the first time. By the time he left office after two consecutive terms in 2013, his government’s spending on “representation” had already risen to NOK 47.5 million. Now it’s soared to new levels, a reflection, according to the state budget text, of “a marked increase in visits in recent years.”