Norway: Strong reactions against national budget

09.10.2006
Norway‘s government, consisting of the Labour Party, The Socialist Left and the Centre Party, have presented their proposal for a national budget for 2007. Researchers claim that the national budget does not prioritise research and higher education. "The government prioritises health, care and education," says the Minister of finance in a press release.
In the government‘s initial declaration it committed itself to keeping the political promises of increased investments in research. The so-called Soria Moria declaration says that Norwegian research investments will reach 3 percent of GDP by 2010. In the national budget for 2007 they propose a nominal increase of 877 million NOK, which according to The Norwegian Association of Researchers is not enough to reach this goal. The Norwegian Association of Researchers also points out that there will be no new PhD positions in 2007: "This goes against the approved augmentation plan which implied 350 new positions in 2007, and it will have wide consequences for the recruitment to research and the development of future competence," The Norwegian Association of Researchers says on its web pages.

There are also reactions from The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations: "The national budget does not prioritise research and higher education. This is very disappointing. This is not a contribution to the postitioning of Norway as a leading knowledge society. The government has actually put the goal of 3 percent of GDP back in its drawer, says Christl Kvam of The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations.

To newspaper Uniforum (University of Oslo) the Minister of education Øystein Djupedal responds: "I reckon that the sector will manage a decrease of one percent, taking into account their solid financial situation. The budget proposes a financial resting phase for the universities and colleges after the combined increase for the sector from 14 to 21 billion NOK during these past few years.

In the government‘s press release about the national budget they state that they prioritise health, care and education.
National budget web pages.
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