State finally saves its National Theater

Norway’s historic National Theater in Oslo is in such bad shape that tarps and scaffolding have been set up around it, to keep its crumbling facade from hitting passersby in the head. After years of neglect, the government has finally announced a major renovation of the theater known as playwright Henrik Ibsen’s house. One can only wonder what Ibsen, […]

Støre blasts Solberg in opening address

Jonas Gahr Støre mounted what some commentators called “frontal attacks” against Erna Solberg’s conservative government coalition when he opened his Labour Party’s annual general meeting on Thursday. Støre wants to take over Solberg’s job, and he declared from the podium that the rival Conservatives and the Progress Party have “taken Norway in the wrong direction.” It […]

‘Catastrophic’ polls as Labour gathers

NEWS ANALYSIS: Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre faced what some commentators, even in the pro-Labour press, were calling “catastrophic” public opinion polls as he gathered 300 party members for their important annual national meeting this weekend. Støre desperately needs to rally his troops and fend off too much compromise if he’s to succeed at becoming […]

Norway won’t lift Russian sanctions

Norwegian Trade Minister Monica Mæland, who just returned from a conciliatory trip to China, was off on another mission to Russia this week, but there the tone was different. Mæland disappointed business and industrial officials when she confirmed that Norway has no intention of lifting its economic sanctions against Russia, at least not yet. “Sanctions against Russia […]

Wolves’ saviour faces ouster

UPDATED: Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen from the Conservative Party faces a lack of confidence vote in Parliament, after he halted a wolf hunt approved last year by the Parliament because the justice ministry deemed it was illegal. Now the anti-wolf movement led by the opposition Center Party plans to order Helgesen to change current regulations to allow shooting […]

Agriculture reform a tough row to hoe

For the first time in years, there was plenty of Norwegian lamb available in the stores this Easter and at relatively reasonable prices. Farm production is higher than ever, but farmers and their advocates remain dissatisfied and the government’s plans for more reforms face constant challenge. Agriculture Minister Jon Georg Dale of the conservative Progress Party rolled […]

‘Polet’ re-opens but under threat

Norway could mark its first long Easter holiday this weekend when its state monopoly of wine and liquor stores, Vinmonopolet, didn’t stay closed all five days, from Thursday through Monday. The stores were to re-open on Saturday, known as påskeaften, because of a liberalization in the law, but that may not be enough to ward off what Health Minister Bent […]

Erna’s government losing its majority

NEWS ANALYSIS: Just as Prime Minister Erna Solberg was flying off to Beijing to normalize relations with China this past week, she was met with a torrent of bad political news at home. Now the question is whether her conservative coalition government will survive the September election and still be around to negotiate with the Chinese this […]

Norway finally welcomed in China

UPDATED: Prime Minister Erna Solberg landed in Beijing on Friday and launched what some were calling her government’s ambitious four-day “fishing trip” to China. Backed by fellow ministers and a delegation of more than 200 Norwegian business leaders, they all hope to hook lots of new trade deals and even discuss human rights issues, just not right now. […]

Free trade deal tops Norway’s agenda

Norway’s Trade Minister Monica Mæland arrived in Beijing a day ahead of her government colleagues, eager to start negotiating a new free trade agreement between Norway and China. That’s her top priority as the two countries resume relations after a six-year diplomatic freeze. “We agreed to start free trade negotiations within five months,”  Mæland of […]