Searching for the Oil Fund’s soul

Norway's oil industry has generated huge amounts of money that's been deposited in the country's Oil Fund. Now that fund is huge and its sheer size often seems to be viewed as a problem instead of resource. Debate over the use of its resources is constant. PHOTO: Statoil/Harald Pettersen

NEWS ANALYSIS: Since its inception around two decades ago, Norwegians have arguably had a love-hate relationship with their huge so-called “Oil Fund” that invests the country’s oil revenues. Debate over how the fund’s mind-boggling wealth should be managed, monitored and spent has now reached fever pitch, perhaps because it’s the wealth itself that often seems to terrify […]

Annual celery saga beats cucumbers

Here are both types of celery for sale at a KIWI store in Oslo last week. The package with the white label on top was left over from an imported shipment from Spain, while the newer and much more expensive Norwegian celery lies under it. The price of the Spanish celery had been jacked up to the same level as the Norwegian celery, though. PHOTO:

NEWS COMMENTARY: Norway’s so-called “agurktid” (cucumber time) in the news is almost over. That’s when, during the summer months, the news flow usually slacks off and media outlets often end up reporting on things like the price of cucumbers, for lack of anything more exciting. This year the price of celery in one particular store was […]

Terror trials test Norwegian values

NEWS ANALYSIS: There’s been a rash of trials in Norway lately involving alleged terrorist activity, support for terrorists or threats from Islamic extremists. Running through most of them is the conflict between provocative rhetoric and Norwegians’ much-cherished right to freedom of expression. Some now think the courts’ interpretation of the latter has gone too far. One […]

Quarrel arises over extent of oil ‘crisis’

Oil Minister Lien is said to be among the few in government showing much support or sympathy for the oil business right now - here at a conference earlier this year. PHOTO: Olje- og energidepartementet

NEWS ANALYSIS: As the consequences of lower oil prices seep into Norway’s economy, industry leaders and the government are quarreling over whether the country now faces any real crisis. Government ministers claim it doesn’t, while once-high-flying oil industry officials and local politicians in communities hit by layoffs strongly disagree. “It’s a crisis for those who are directly affected, […]

SV hits new low, Greens blossom

Meanwhile, Rasmus Hansson's Greens Party (MDG) seems to have attracted many of SV's old voters and is sowing the seeds for a strong showing in the looming local government elections. PHOTO: Miljøpartiet De Grønne

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s Socialist Left party (SV), once a mighty force on the left side of Norwegian politics, has sunk to a new low in public opinion polls. After 18 months below the level needed for representation in Parliament, SV may have lost its most important basis of support, while the Greens party keeps growing, […]

Government gains on refugee stand

The parties led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg (right) and Finance Minister Siv Jensen (left) have rebounded in public opinion polls, likely because of their opposition to calls for their government to accept 10,000 more refugees from Syria. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/

NEWS ANALYSIS: There’s been a sudden surge of voter support for Norway’s two government coalition parties during the past week, just as both fend off calls for Norway to take in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees. That’s likely no coincidence, and the surge may signal a shift in the political winds ahead of local elections this fall. First […]

Stoltenbergs urged Nordic defense pact

Thorvald (left) and Jens Stoltenberg both backed stronger military ties among the Nordic countries. Now Jens leads NATO, and welcomes a "stronger and deeper" pact among the Nordic and Baltic nations. PHOTO: Arbeiderpartiet

NEWS ANALYSIS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed a “strengthened cooperation” signaled by government ministers of the Nordic countries late last week, and that’s no surprise. His own father, veteran Norwegian diplomat Thorvald Stoltenberg, urged much tighter military cooperation with Norway’s neighbours as early as 2009, and the NATO boss doesn’t think the latest manifestation of that […]

Refugee children as political pawns

Justice Minister Anders Amundsen of the Progress Party (left) and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the Conservatives were all smiles when announcing the so-called "asylbarn" solution this week. In reality, though, they had to give in to the more liberal asylum policies of their smaller support parties in Parliament, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals. PHOTO: Justis- go beredskapsdepartementet

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s long-running drama about the fate of rejected refugees’ children reached a climax this week, when the government finally agreed to “be more liberal” in cases involving children who’ve spent most or all of their lives in the country. The agreement came only after the minority government coalition was faced with losing the votes […]

Huge challenge to meet climate goals

Carbon capture and emissions reduction at Statoil's Mongstad plant will be delayed ... (PHOTO: Øyvind Hagen/Statoi)

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s government faces a huge challenge as it tries to juggle the interests of the country’s large oil and gas industry and the need to cut carbon emissions blamed for climate change. As Norwegians returned to work Tuesday after a long Easter holiday, they were likely to meet new vows from politicians who claim they won’t simply […]

Norway toughens residence rules

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the Conservative Party and Justice Minister Anders Anundsen of the Progress Party want to lengthen the time it takes to secure permanent residence in Norway. PHOTO: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

NEWS ANALYSIS: The Norwegian government is about to make it much tougher for many foreign nationals to move to Norway and settle down in the country. Newspaper VG reported on Tuesday that a proposal sent out to hearing this week would extend the qualifying period for permanent residence permission to five years, nearly doubling the amount of time that effectively puts a newcomer […]