“The Government will in 2013 give priority to increasing our knowledge of the High North, as well as to strengthening Norway’s activities and presence in the region,” says Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
A new ice-class research vessel, the development of the monitoring and information system BarentsWatch and a new technology building at the University of Tromsø are among the areas of Norway’s High North policy that are to be given priority in 2013.
The total budget for High North activities for 2013 is close to NOK 2 billion, an increase of approximately NOK 290 million from 2012.
“The High North will continue to be the Government’s most important strategic foreign policy priority and this budget proposal will help us to achieve the key objectives of our High North policy. The aim is for Norway to be a leading actor in the development of the High North and the Arctic together with our neighbours, allies and partners,” said Mr Eide.
The Government proposes an initial allocation of NOK 75 million for the construction of a new ice-class research vessel, which will be based in Tromsø. The overall cost of the vessel is estimated at NOK 1.4 billion.
NOK 160 million is to be set aside to create new student places at institutions in North Norway and Svalbard. NOK 197 million is to be allocated to emergency tugboat services in North Norway, and funding for the European satellite navigation system Galileo is to be increased by NOK 70 million to a total of NOK 174 million.
The Government also proposes an allocation of NOK 112 million, an increase of NOK 70 million, for the construction of the first of two new border stations in Sør-Varanger, as well as an allocation of NOK 190 million to continue the construction of a new technology building at the University of Tromsø.