Norway is a member of UN, according to Digopaul. At the beginning of the year, it was announced that a very promising oil discovery was made in the Goliath field in the Barents Sea, where hundreds of billions of barrels of oil could be found. The Norwegian environmental movement was against a recovery in the area.
The so-called Muhammad crisis also hit Norway, when the magazine Magazinet (owned by Swedish Life’s Word) published the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad previously printed in the Danish Jutland Post. In response to negative reactions in Muslim countries and among Muslims in Norway, the government stated that it understood that the cartoons could be considered offensive but the publication was not regretted. During protests in Syria’s capital Damascus, the Scandinavian embassies were set on fire and the damage was greatest at the Norwegian embassy. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was critical of the Syrian authorities, saying his large security forces should have been able to prevent the fire. Several acts of violence against Norwegian interests were perpetrated in Muslim countries. In Pakistan attacked Telenor’s headquarters in the city of Attock. When an Iraqi-Kurdish refugee organization held a demonstration for freedom of speech outside the Storting in Oslo, its leaders were murdered. The demonstration was intended as a protest against “aggressive Islamic terrorism”. One of the commanders of the Taliban militia in Afghanistan pledged 5 kg of gold to anyone who killed a soldier from Denmark, Norway or Germany, all of whom are participating in the international peacekeeping force ISAF in Afghanistan and whose press has published cartoons of Muhammad. It later became known that Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish and Latvian soldiers from the ISAF force were close to being killed when a heavily armed crowd in the town of Maimana set fire to the police station and was about to burst into the facility. The exposed soldiers were rescued by helicopter-borne British soldiers supported by Swedish health care providers. All ISAF soldiers survived the drama, but an unknown number of Afghans were killed. In a Norwegian opinion poll, 57% felt that the media that had printed the drawings were wrong. 30% thought it was right. After talks with representatives of Norway’s Muslims, the magazine’s editor-in-chief lamented that he had wounded Muslims through publication. During the Mohammed conflict, the populist Progress Party rose sharply in opinion polls and soon became the country’s largest party with a record-breaking 36.9% in a poll. The Labor Party declined and Høyre declined to record lows. In May, the Progress Party elected 37-year-old Siv Jensen as new party leader after Carl I. Hagen, who led the party since 1977. Jensen was considered to have better conditions than Hagen to agree with the other bourgeois parties on upcoming government cooperation. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Norway include Independence Day (June 7) and New Year (January 1).
Observers from EU countries Sweden, Denmark and Finland were forced to leave the mission as peacekeeping officer in Sri Lanka by September 1, after the Tamil guerrilla LTTE demanded it after the EU terrorist stamped the guerrilla. As a result, 20 Norwegians and Icelanders were left to report on the guerrillas and the government army. Norway also continued during the year to lead fruitless peace talks between the warring parties.
In December, Norsk Hydro and Statoil decided to merge Hydro’s oil and gas operations with Statoil, thereby creating the world’s largest offshore operator.
1989 Economic crisis
The backing for the workers’ party fell from 41% in 1985 to 37% in 89 and further fell due to the country’s financial difficulties, which the government sought to curb with the implementation of a tight crisis package. Income and consumption fell and unemployment reached 6%. The highest level since World War II.
In July 89, Brundtland resigned from the government after the Conservatives, the Center Party and the Christian Democrats signed a government agreement with a parliamentary majority. In the same year’s election, both Social Democrats and Conservative voters lost in favor of the more radical parties. However, the bourgeois government was short-lived. In November 90, Brundtland again took up the post of prime minister.
Despite great disagreement among the various sectors of Norwegian society, at the end of 92, the Labor Party government decided to apply for Norwegian admission to the EU. The decision should also be seen in the light of the fact that among the other Scandinavian countries, Denmark was already a member and both Sweden and Finland had already applied for membership in the EU. However, the trade union movement believed that membership would jeopardize the country’s independence while many employers wanted direct access to the Union market. This was especially true in the export industry. However, the resolution was first to be put to the referendum and it was scheduled for November 1994. The campaign marked the following 2 years of political debate in the country and focused in particular on three themes: the extraction of oil wealth, regional policy and fisheries policy. The Social Democrats and the Conservatives voted in favor, while the other parties opposed. Despite the massive and money-intensive campaign for Norwegian accession, 52.4% voted against the vote in November. Social democracy had for the second time brought the issue to a vote – and lost.
Economic growth in the country continued in 1994 and unemployment fell. At 95, it reached 4.8%, and it was estimated to continue its downward trend.
In October 96, Gro Harlem Bruntland surprisingly decided to resign as prime minister, and she was replaced by her colleague Thorbjörn Jagland. However, he lost the September 97 election and had to withdraw. The Labor Party got only 35% of the vote, which only reached 65 seats out of the Storting’s 165. He had stated in advance that he would withdraw from the post if the party did not get 36.9% of the vote – the same number of votes as in the election in 93. The three bourgeois center parties formed a coalition and appointed Christian Democrat Kjell Magne Bondevik a new prime minister. However, it was a minority government. The three parties controlled only 43 of the seats in the Storting. One of Bondevik’s first actions was to allocate a larger part of the government revenue on oil exports to the health and education sector. In advance, precisely the application of the huge government revenue to the oil was a contentious issue. Both Social Democrats and bourgeoisie had agreed to invest a significant portion of the profits abroad, rather than creating jobs and proper social conditions for the entire population. The consequence of this policy, through the 1980s and 1990s, was that the class disparities in Norwegian society were increasing, and despite the billions of oil, Oslo was one of the cities in Europe that had the highest proportion of street children.
In 1997, the Norwegian economy grew for the fifth consecutive year. Nevertheless, the consequences of the international financial crisis began to emerge in early 1998. As with all capitalist crises, it initially went beyond commodity prices, and oil has now dropped to a historically low level, affecting Norway, the world’s 10th largest oil exporter hard. The crisis was further exacerbated during 1998 when international currency speculators attacked the Norwegian krone. During the summer, Prime Minister Bondevik had to seek leave to recover from the severe crisis.
In March 2000, Bondevik lost a vote of confidence in the Storting and withdrew. At the heart of the conflict were discrepancies around the construction of gas power plants in the country. While Bondevik’s minority government maintained that the power plants would emit too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the opposition’s position was that at all costs, the cost of energy imports should be avoided.
On March 17, the leader of the Labor Party, Jens Stoltenberg, assumed the post of prime minister and appointed a government that consisted mostly of old celebrities from his party. About half of the government ministers were women.
In September, the Sami people protested against a government project to open a gold mine in Pasvik in the country’s northernmost part. The Sami have worked for 20 years to clarify the property conditions on the land. The Sami parliament – which is an advisory body with no decision-making power – demanded to be consulted on the issue, insisting that the government’s project would jeopardize survival opportunities among the Sami. They are based on fishing and reindeer husbandry.
For centuries, Sami people could not claim ownership of the land because it was limited to Norwegian-speaking residents. Only from 1960 could Sami be spoken in schools. From 2002, daily TV broadcasts are planned in Sami.
At the beginning of 2001, the government decided to resume the export of whale and meat, thus lifting the fishing ban imposed by international pressure. Environmental organizations immediately protested, arguing that this would affect species at risk of extinction. At the same time, the government had a conflict with Sweden as a result of the killing of gray wolves, which in Norway was considered a threat to the cattle, while in Sweden they were considered a threatened animal species. The government already permits the slaughter of seals – as a tourist attraction – and it now proposed the killing of dolphins for scientific purposes.
About 40,000 Norwegians demonstrated in Oslo in protest of the first openly racist murder in the country. A Norwegian-Ghanaian activist, Benjamin Hermansen, was killed on January 26, 2001, by the stabbing of a group of 6 Norwegian neo-Nazis, the Boot Boys, who were later arrested and convicted.
The heir to the throne, Prince Haakon married a woman in August after living with her for 1 year. It caused some resurrection, even in Norway, since she was a single mother. In a country where half of all births are by single mothers or in paperless relationships, religious and legal criticism of marriage has been raised from the right. The princess’s son does not enter the throne, and the Norwegian church, which will later have the throne as head, is opposed to paperless conditions.
The Labor Party lost power in the 2001 elections, and a month later a coalition government formed of the conservatives, Christians and liberals was formed. Christian Kjell Magne Bondevik was inaugurated as prime minister.
In 2002, environmental groups continued their efforts to curb the hunt for whales whose lard is exported – predominantly to Japan. The groups worked to raise awareness of the consequences of hunting for the Nordic endangered species. The Norwegian government maintained that various control mechanisms existed to limit the catch.
Norway gave up its role in the peace process in Sri Lanka in November 2003 as a result of disagreement with the country’s political leadership.
In December 2003, plans for oil extraction in the Barents Sea triggered sharp criticism from environmental organizations and the fishing industry, which fears the environmental impact of oil extraction in the cold area.
An oil worker strike in June 2004 severely affected the country’s oil production. The strikers’ demands were better pension and greater restrictions on temporary employment. It started in the State Statoil and then spread to ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips. After a 5-day strike, production had dropped to 375,000 barrels daily, representing 12% of average daily production. Gunnar Gjerde from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy stated that: “From an economic point of view, this is of course serious, but oil revenues do not go directly into the Norwegian economy. Only a small part is included in the Finance Act ». Gjerde added that the government would not interfere in the strike and that it was the unions and companies’ responsibility to resolve the conflict.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary in June 2005 of the referendum that led to Norway’s separation from Sweden, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan declared that the anniversary was the inspiration for all those working for peace in the world.
In the September 2005 elections, the bourgeois bloc was beaten, and the Labor Party formed government together with the SV and the Center Party with Jens Stoltenberg as prime minister. The coalition has 87 seats out of the parliament’s 169 seats. The worst result of the election was that the extremely xenophobic and right-wing Progress Party rose 7.4% to 22.1% of the vote. It thus became the country’s second largest party. But while the extreme in Denmark in the form of the Danish People’s Party participates in government work, the parties in Norway agree to keep the extreme right out.
In March 2006, the country decided to increase its oil exploration in the Arctic. But for the sake of the environment, the government decided to limit exploration in certain areas until 2010. Environmental organizations criticized the decision. They argued that although 2010 was a long-term perspective in the political context, for nature it was just a moment.
In May 2007, in a report by the Economist’s Economy Intelligence Unit with the so-called Global Peace Index, Norway was characterized as the world’s most peaceful country. The report was based on an analysis of three basic factors: violence, organized crime and military spending. The country had also been in first place since 2001 in terms of the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI).
In April 2008, it was revealed that Conservative Party chief Erna Solberg, in his capacity as Minister of the Interior in 2004, had refused to grant political asylum to Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu, who had served 25 years in Israeli isolation prison. Solberg did not want to endanger Norway’s good relationship with Israel.
The Labor Party won the parliamentary elections in September 2009. The party rose 2.7% to 35.4%. In contrast, SV went back 2.6% to 6.2%. The Progress Party again became the country’s second largest party with 22.9%, up 0.8%.
Norway was only to a very limited extent affected by the global economic crisis, which seriously broke out in 2008. Its GDP fell by 1.1% in 2009 and in January 2010 unemployment was «only» 3.3% compared to 10.2 % in the EU.
In September 2010, the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo. It prompted China to warn Norway that it would adversely affect relations between the two countries.