Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, in her New Year's speech, urged Norwegians to have two children. The Norwegian PM devoted most of her speech to the importance of the stability of the country's welfare system and population growth, which she sees as a required factor for the survival of the system.
Saying that an average of 1.6 children per Norwegian woman is born in the country, Solberg stressed that the number of children needed to sustain the Norwegian welfare system is not sufficient and asked Norwegians to have at least 2 children.
The Nordic country, one of the richest in the world by GDP per capita, last year was named the happiest nation on the planet and is known for a cradle-to-grave welfare state funded in part by large reserves of oil and natural gas. The country of 5.2 million inhabitants represents the world's most generous welfare model. The country largely avoided the 2008 financial crisis that hit the rest of the world thanks to high oil prices that boosted its leading industry, oil production. However, the end of the oil boom has threatened Norway's welfare model.
Solberg said that the current system could survive smoothly for 10 years; however, the problems in the Norwegian welfare system would begin to rise if the number of taxpayers in the country does not increase.
Erna Solberg, the 58-year-old leader of the conservative (Høyre) Party, is the mother of two children. Solberg, who leads a three-party center-right minority government, will start negotiations in earlier months to widen her cabinet and thus turn it into a majority coalition. Solberg, in power since 2013, has long sought to include the independent Christian Democrats (CDP) in her government of the Conservatives, the centrist Liberals and the right-wing Progress Party.