Norway. It was a year of political and economic hardship
for the minority government. The H°yre and the Progress
Party (Frp) ended up in conflict with the support parties
Venstre and the Christian People's Party (Krf), which
demanded that the government reverse the tightening of the
asylum policy previously implemented by Frp. According to
COUNTRYAAH, many families
with children who had lived in Norway for a long time had
been rejected, and Krf threatened to withdraw their support
to the government.
After hard negotiations, Frp was forced to give in in
April. Children who have been in Norway for more than four
years and have been rejected for a certain period have the
right to a new trial. At the same time, Frp got through some
new austerity measures, including for family reunification.
In June, the Frp was forced to make another difficult
compromise in a broad political agreement that Norway would
receive 8,000 refugees from Syria in two years. The Labor
Party and other opposition wanted to take 10,000 Syrian
refugees, but Frp did not want to take any. Many in the Frp
were critical of the settlement, not least the former party
leader Carl I. Hagen, who was upset about the fraud.
The municipal and county elections in September were a
loss for the government parties, while the left parties went
ahead, most notably the Green Party, the Green Party, which
became the wave champion in several cities. In Oslo, the
Labor Party, the Socialist Left Party and the Milj°partiet
took over, and even in Bergen there was a change of power
since H°yre had lost more than a third of his mandate.
In parallel with the political setbacks, the economy
declined. At the beginning of the year, the oil price had
fallen about 60% in six months, creating major problems for
the Norwegian oil industry with subcontractors. In the oil
city of Stavanger, unemployment increased by 50% in one
year, and during the summer the country's unemployment
increased more than expected to 4.5%. The Norwegian krone
was squeezed, and in August the value of the Swedish krona,
the lowest quotation of over 15 years, was tangible.
However, the tourism industry earned a low krone value, and
fewer Norwegians traveled to Sweden to shop.
Tax revenues from the oil fell by about 40% compared to
the previous year, and before 2016 it looked as if the state
oil fund would shrink when withdrawals were made to finance
the budget. In that case, it would be the first time since
the Oil Fund was established in 1996. The fund had a size of
almost NOK 7 billion and the politicians had not expected to
cut it until later. But the fund grew less than usual, and
at the same time it was more than usual in budget financing.
At the end of the year, Prime Minister Erna Solberg declared
that the "sunshine period" was over for Norway.
Then a record number of asylum seekers also came to
Norway, close to 2,500 in one week, and the government
proposed tightening the Aliens Act. In addition, temporary
residence permits, stricter rules for family reunification,
faster rejections and more were proposed. Border control was
Islamist leader Mulla Omar Krekar was a continuing
concern for the government. In January he was released after
nearly three years in prison for threats, but in February he
was arrested again. Then he had said to support the
terrorist act in Paris and Copenhagen and stated that
Mohammed's cartoonists deserve death. He was later indicted
and sentenced to 18 months in prison. At the end of the
year, Italy requested him extradited for suspicion of
In September, the Islamic State (IS) terror group claimed
that it was holding a Norwegian prisoner in Syria. Pictures
were published of the severely abused man and a large ransom
was requested for his release. In November, it was announced
that IS had killed the kidnapped Norwegian and a Chinese
detainee along with him.
In December, the government was reformed with four new
ministers, including the Progress Party's Sylvi Listhaug,
who became a new immigration minister despite making
controversial statements about immigrants.