In Norway, we are in a better position than most to pull together as a team – by truly listening to each other’s concerns and hopes.
If we succeed, it will give us even greater strength as a society.
The climate crisis cannot be solved by individuals or the market on its own.
The ability of a few people to buy better help for themselves will not improve care for the elderly overall.
And in a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe.
Resolving major challenges to society demands something from each of us.
But most of all, it demands more from us as a society.
A large-scale collective effort – both in our own country and together with other countries.
When I think about the future and the major challenges ahead, I mostly think about our young people.
We have the best young people in the world!
But our young people, too, need a support system that is there for them.
We are stronger together. That means all of us.
From my conversations with young people, I can see that the support systems have broken down, and the pandemic has made things worse for many of them.
I see perfectly normal young people who are struggling.
Who need guidance from adults they can trust to help them get their lives on track, finish their schooling and, eventually, find a job.
At the same time, it must be said that young people in Norway have a lot of guts and drive.
Frøya Valland Dale is one of the people I remember very clearly from last summer – with her cheerful smile and infectious energy. She is a pupil in the technological and industrial production programme at Knarvik upper secondary school in Alver, outside Bergen.
She loves welding!
An untraditional choice, but as Frøya said: ‘I like it when a lot is happening, and I like learning with my hands.’
Providing more vocationally oriented schools with apprenticeships for everyone, so that pupils like Frøya can succeed, is one of the most meaningful aspects of my work as a politician.
It is an excellent way to invest in our young people, and in our common future.
Because it is people like Frøya – competent personnel in business and industry – who will be creating the sustainable jobs of tomorrow.
Our greatest, and perhaps most difficult, challenge in the coming years will be to achieve an equitable transformation process that reduces emissions and generates new jobs.
A country so strongly rooted in solidarity and fellowship like Norway can manage both. At the same time!
The ironworks at Mo i Rana were established after the end of WWII to help build Norway using iron and steel we produced ourselves.
In the 1980s, the ironworks were closed.
It was the end of an era.
Today, there are world-leading companies and workers in full swing at Mo Industrial Park.
And now a new industrial venture is being planned – five new battery manufacturing plants!
Bringing more than a thousand jobs and renewed hope for the future to the people of North Norway, and to Norway as a country.
Creating a resilient community means ensuring access to health services and a social safety net for all. That is fundamental.
But it is just as important to set ambitious goals we can achieve together – workers, companies, entrepreneurs and the authorities – to create new, green, Norwegian industrial success stories.
Which is precisely what they are doing in Mo.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you who are on duty this New Year’s holiday.
Thank you for taking care of vital tasks while the rest of us are celebrating.
I know that many of you are getting close to breaking point now.
Particularly those of you who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic.
Health care workers and teachers, staff at day-care institutions, cleaning personnel, employees at NAV and many many others.
We are now even more aware of how much we need you, and the essential role you play in keeping the wheels of society turning.
We are eternally grateful for your expertise, your pride in your work, your unceasing efforts and your courage.
My heartfelt thanks also go to all Norwegians abroad.
Our students spread across the world, our seamen, our aid workers and all the others who take Norwegian values out into the world, and bring new perspectives back home to us here.
You are helping to enrich all our lives.
I would also like to thank our much-loved Royal Family, for their loyal and tireless service at home and abroad.
And a special thanks to the Armed Forces, and all of you who are on duty and working to safeguard our country, here in Norway and in other parts of the world.
One of them is Helga Botten.
Ordinarily, Helga is a nurse at Rena Camp in the Østerdalen Garrison.
But this summer, she was one of a small number of military personnel who remained at the Norwegian field hospital in Kabul in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the city.
As a result of a terrorist attack close by, 65 critically injured people were rushed to the hospital – all at the same time.
Helga has vivid memories of the devastating injuries, and the fear in the eyes of the people being brought in.
But just as strong are her memories of how everyone helped each other.
Of the fellowship and camaraderie among those working at the hospital.
How meaningful it was to be of help, a feeling that I know resonates with many of you working in the health services.
There are crises that affect an entire society – such as war or a pandemic.
And there are life crises that affect us as individuals – such as losing someone we love.
These crises act as a mirror – they show us how vulnerable we truly are, and how much we depend on one another.
But they can also show us how strong we are.
How strong we are when we stand together in the face of adversity. The true meaning of strength in numbers.
And that fills me with optimism. It points the way towards all that we will achieve together – an equitable society, a climate-friendly society, and safe and secure lives for everyone.
I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy – and a much better – new year.