Norway shields its oil industry, for now

Statoil continues to pump up profits from its oil and gas operations. Pictured here, the Sleipner platform off Norway. PHOTO: Statoil/Dag Myrestrand

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norwegian Climate Minister Tine Sundtoft was all smiles after playing a key role in the historic global climate deal struck in Paris over the weekend. Her government colleagues were smiling, too, and didn’t seem to think the deal will force Norway to cut back on the country’s oil and gas production, even though environmental […]

Telenor bosses not off the hook

Telenor's new CEO Sigve Brekke is at the center of controversy swirling around Telenor, also for embellishing his own educational and career record. PHOTO: Telenor

NEWS ANALYSIS: They won’t have to face questioning at another Parliamentary hearing next week into alleged bribery at partly owned VimpelCom, but embattled Telenor executives are far from being let off the hook. Now they’re in trouble with both suspicious Norwegian politicians and angry international investigators, while questions and criticism keep flying around CEO Sigve Brekke’s embellished […]

Foreign students rally to save funding

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) in Ås has the largest number of foreign students of all the universities in Norway. Students there have firmly opposed a proposal to introduce tuition fees. PHOTO: UMB

GUEST COMMENTARY: Norway’s conservative minority government coalition has finally hammered out a state budget agreement with its two support parties in Parliament, but debate continues over many aspects of it. The International Students Union of Norway, for example, isn’t giving up its fight to save special funding for fellow students from developing countries, and submitted the following plea […]

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 […]