Paradox pervades Ryanair drama

NEWS ANALYSIS: The paradox could hardly be more pronounced: Norwegian politicians, bureaucrats, business and labour officials who earlier have bashed low-fare airline Ryanair now seem to be rushing to its defense. Ryanair has succeeded in hurling state budget negotiations this week into severe turbulence, all because of its arguably hollow objections to an airline seat tax of around EUR 10 that’s also […]

Higher emissions don’t daunt leaders

NEWS ANALYSIS: Just days after the Norwegian government announced controversial plans to drill for more oil and gas in new areas of the Arctic, came news that Norway’s own carbon emissions have increased for the first time since 2010. The increase was blamed almost entirely on the country’s oil and gas industry but political and industrial leaders are […]

Strike left tourism out in the cold

COMMENTARY: A newly retired couple from England won’t likely forget what was supposed to be a celebratory trip to Norway last week that ended in anguish on a blustery Arctic dock. Nor will a stranded group of Danish tourists, a man on holiday from the Netherlands, or the undersigned on a reporting job from Oslo. All of […]

Norway shields its oil industry, for now

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

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

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

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

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’

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, […]