The majority of the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) has decided: Northern Norway will be divided into two regions as part of the government’s regions reform. That was decided by the parties in government, the Conservatives and the Progress Party, along with their partners, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party.
High North News has received confirmation that the majority of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Local Government and Public Administration will publish this outcome during today, Wednesday 3 May. While Nordland County will remain as it is today, Troms and Finnmark counties will be merged into one region/one county.
Met with Minister Sanner
The leaders of the three northernmost counties, Tomas Norvoll (Nordland), Cecilie Myrseth (Troms) and Runar Sjåstad (Finnmark) met with Minister of Local Government and Modernization Jan Tore Sanner a few days ago. All three then expressed their shared view; that it is crucial to reach a principal clarification now, and to leave potential local adjustments for later.
This point of view was also emphasized by a unanimous North Norwegian Council a short while ago. Northern Norway will not accept having to wait for clarification of its regions-to-be until after the rest of the country has been decided on. That was their clear message.
The majority parties of the committee will announce their decision today. The result largely meets the primary wish of the Nordland County Council, as well as the subsidiary priority of Troms County Council. The primary priority of the latter was for the current three counties to be gathered into one region. Finnmark County Council has decided that Finnmark wishes to remain a separate county, and it has not expressed any views on alternative priorities.
Many of the actors High North News has spoken with expresses the desire to make some new adjustments to current internal borders and some adjustments between the regions; however, the most important point now is the principle – to have a clarification.
Listening to the locals
The fact that Narvik and Harstad municipalities have decided that they wish to remain within their current county borders, Nordland and Troms respectively, has also helped inform the final opinion of the committee majority.