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, […]

SV hits new low, Greens blossom

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

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

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

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 […]