For many years, the coverage level under the Norwegian deposit guarantee scheme has been significantly higher than the target that was introduced by the EU Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive to achieve a fully harmonised coverage level. However, recent amendments to the Act on Financial Institutions and Financial Groups have reduced the coverage level for customers in the European Union that have deposits in Norwegian banks which offer services in their country on a cross-border basis.
In 2017 the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (FSAN) published guidelines on prudent consumer lending practices. However, in order to strengthen the FSAN's ability to ensure that the 2017 guidelines are actually implemented, it has now proposed that they be converted into a regulation. This would make it easier for the FSAN to impose penalties on institutions that fail to comply with the rules.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has implemented several measures to secure jobs, boost the labour market and maintain stability for the workforce, including increasing the unemployment benefit. This temporary amendment originally applied until 31 October 2020. However, the government is set to propose a budget resolution before Parliament to extend the increased unemployment benefit to 31 December 2020.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has proposed to extend the temporary lay-off period to 52 weeks from 1 November 2020. The extension will help the business community financially during an uncertain time. This implies that, among other things, the period in which temporarily laid-off employees may be entitled to unemployment benefits will be extended from 26 weeks to 52 weeks.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has implemented several measures to protect businesses, jobs and workers. The government recently adopted changes to the period in which employers have a duty of remuneration when temporarily laying off employees. From 1 September 2020, the duty of remuneration period will be 10 days.
The government has proposed a temporary arrangement under which employers can apply for payroll support to bring their laid-off employees back to work. The grounds for the proposal are that the number of temporarily laid-off employees is still high (as of 2 June 2020, nearly 330,000 full or partially unemployed individuals were registered). The support scheme aims to reduce the number of laid-off individuals and counteract the risk that unemployment in Norway will stabilise at a high level.
In order to deal with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, Parliament has adopted temporary amendments to the rules for temporarily laid-off employees who belong to private pension schemes. As such, employers may choose to allow laid-off employees to retain their membership with a pension scheme during the lay-off period. The individual employee must bear the cost of continuing insurance for the membership, while the business must continue to pay the administrative costs.
Equinor's pioneering Hywind Tampen project – set to become the biggest floating wind farm in the world – marks the first foray into offshore wind production in Norway. There are high hopes for the potential of this industry in a country with a long coastline and considerable offshore energy production expertise. However, a number of issues must be resolved in order for offshore wind production to become a commercially viable industry in Norway.
Following a public hearing, the government has abandoned its plan to finalise and approve a national framework for land-based wind power. According to Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the framework's purpose was to reduce the conflict that land-based wind power has experienced in recent years. However, the public hearing showed that the framework may have had the opposite effect.
Equinor's Hywind Tampen project – set to become the biggest floating wind farm in the world – marks the first foray into offshore wind production in Norway. There are high hopes for the potential of this industry in Norway, which has a vast continental shelf and territorial waters and considerable expertise in traditional offshore energy production. That said, a number of issues must be resolved in order for offshore wind production to become a commercially viable industry in Norway.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate recently announced restrictions on its practice of extending commissioning deadlines for wind power farms. The purpose of extending commissioning deadlines was to meet the political goal of promoting and supporting investments in new wind power farms. However, according to a recent report, concessions for wind power may prevent the positive alternative development of the relevant land and prolong local conflicts.
The first wind turbines in one of Europe's largest land-based wind farms recently commenced operation. The Kvitfjell and Raudfjell onshore wind farm (known as 'Project Northern Lights') is located near the city of Tromsø in northern Norway and comprises 67 turbines with an individual installed effect of 4.2MW and an aggregate installed effect of 281.4MW. The turbines use the latest technology, including direct drive and de-icing technology.
The Supreme Court recently deemed that a municipality's termination of its agreement with a general practitioner (GP) after she refused to insert an intrauterine device for a patient for reasons of conscience relating to her religion was invalid. The GP claimed that her termination was invalid because, among other things, it contravened Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion).
The Supreme Court recently confirmed several important starting points relevant to the periodisation of an insurance event for the assessment of cover. The ruling addressed issues relating to both defining insurance periods and determining when insurance events occur. The Supreme Court also addressed the question of what is required to revise an insurance agreement pursuant to Section 36 of the Contract Act on unreasonable contract terms.
In marine insurance, business interruption is covered by loss of hire (LoH) insurance. LoH is a separate insurance for loss of time caused by a casualty and linked to the hull and machinery insurance for the insured vessel or unit when it covers repair costs. The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed will not be considered a 'casualty' for an insured vessel or unit. However, for marine casualties caused by other perils, it is clear that COVID-19 has led and will lead to significant prolongations of repair periods.