Norway’s prime minister proposed on Monday that his country, a major petroleum exporter, should provide some 75 billion Norwegian crowns ($7.3 billion) in aid to Ukraine over five years.
“We aim to secure a unified agreement on this in parliament,” Labour Party Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference after meeting Norwegian opposition leaders.
The Nordic country has seen its government income swell to record levels following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the price of gas sold to Europe soared last year.
Stoere, faced with criticism from some countries and parts of the opposition at home for indirectly profiting from the war, announced in late 2022 a plan to give multi-year aid to Ukraine, without saying how much.
In 2023, half the aid would fund military requirements while the rest would go to humanitarian needs, although this split could change in coming years, he said.
Norway should also give 5 billion crowns extra this year in aid to poor countries suffering from soaring global food prices in the wake of the Ukraine war, Stoere said.
Stoere’s minority government must seek parliament’s approval for the funds, which will increase the annual spending of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest with assets of close to $1.4 trillion.
The main opposition Conservative Party said it expected to back the plan, which is subject to final negotiations in coming weeks.
In 2022, Norway became Europe’s largest gas supplier due to a drop in Russian gas flows. It is also Europe’s second-largest oil producer after Russia.
Inflows to the Norwegian wealth fund swelled last year from the state’s petroleum revenues to the tune of 1.1 trillion crowns or $108 billion – nearly three times the previous record, set in 2008.
($1 = 10.2835 Norwegian crowns)