Norwegian social benefits highest in EuropeNorwegian social benefits highest in Europe
Norway provides its citizens with the highest social security benefits of any country in Europe. This is shown by figures from the European statistics office Eurostat. The social benefits grants to Norwegians averaged 11,755 Euro in 2002, equal to NOK 93,200. This was NOK 37,700 higher than in Iceland, NOK 36,900 higher than in Finland, 19,200 higher than in Sweden and 12,300 higher than in Denmark. Compared with EU nations outside Scandinavia, the differences are even higher: According to Eurostat, the social benefits in Norway cost NOK 48,000 per citizen more than in Italy.
Norway still best place to live
Norway will top a 2005 United Nations ranking as the best country in which to live for the fifth year in a row, the head of the UN Development Program (UNDP) said on Friday. Rich from North Sea oil and with a generous welfare state, Norway has led the world ranking since it ousted Canada from top spot in 2001. The annual list ranks countries by an index combining wealth, education and life expectancy. "The (2005) report comes out on September 7 and yes, Norway is ranked as number 1 on the human development index," UNDP administrator Kemal Dervis told a news conference in Oslo of the forthcoming report. He gave no other details of the ranking. Last year, Norway was followed by Sweden, Australia and Canada at the top, while Sierra Leone was the last of 177 countries listed. Dervis, on his first foreign trip since taking over as head of the UNDP this month, said the ranking was a reward for years of work by successive governments in Norway, the world's number 3 oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia and Russia.