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Yearbook 2015

2015 NorwayNorway. 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.

2015 Norway

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 also tightened.

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 terror.

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.

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