When COVID-19 began quickly spreading all through Europe in March, Norway was arduous hit. However beneath Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s management, the nation rapidly adopted strict lockdown measures and ramped up testing. 5 months later, Norway now enjoys one of many lowest fatality charges in Europe.
“That is the rainiest day Norway has had because the 1930s,” Solberg stated throughout a TIME 100 Talks dialogue with Worldwide Editor Dan Stewart. “However I believe, in a manner, we had been fortunate within the unluck that we had.”
Lower than two weeks in the past, Norway opened up its borders to elements of Europe, welcoming vacationers again into the nation. All through Norway, residents are having fun with the summer time after a protracted winter and spring in lockdown. “We consider after all that we’re capable of management it,” Solberg says. “We all know way more concerning the virus than once we began.”
However Solberg is aware of that for all of the nation’s successes, there stay many challenges forward. Like different world leaders navigating the pandemic, Solberg is confronted with rebuilding the Norwegian economic system within the aftermath of lockdown measures. Though Norway has a powerful economic system, March and April noticed the best charges of unemployment the nation has skilled because the 1930s. The federal government has dipped into its sovereign fund to assist mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
Learn extra: What the U.S. Can Study From Different International locations About Reopening Faculties in a Coronavirus Pandemic
“We try to get exercise moving into all elements of the economic system,” she says. “However we are going to shut down if the numbers go too excessive.”
Whether or not methods for exciting the economic system will align with efforts to decarbonize the Norweigan economic system, nonetheless, stays a query for Solberg. Norway is western Europe’s prime producer of oil and fuel, however the authorities has confronted stress lately to divest from its extractive industries.
“We nonetheless consider that there might be a requirement for oil and fuel sooner or later and we expect we should always export,” Solberg says, however stated that “it’s been a very long time” because the Norweigan oil sector reached its peak. Whereas Solberg did categorical a want to transition to a greener economic system, she famous that “there’s at all times a dilemma for oil producing firms,” and that these nations must “do it slowly the place the economic system can deal with it.”
Additionally on the horizon for Solberg—and Norway’s economic system—is a possible free-trade settlement with China, which has been within the works since earlier than 2010. “China is a giant a part of the world economic system,” she says. “I believe it’s essential to have a working relationship with them.” However for Norway—that was simply elected as a member of the United Nations Safety Council for the interval 2021-2022—China’s human rights track-record can’t be ignored. “Additionally they need to be open in the direction of the concept human rights are common,” Solberg says.
As Solberg seems to be ahead on the months forward, she is cautiously optimistic. “We all know the place the chance factors are.”
This text is a part of #TIME100Talks: Discovering Hope, a particular sequence that includes leaders throughout completely different fields encouraging motion towards a greater world. Need extra? Join entry to extra digital occasions, together with reside conversations with influential newsmakers.