Norway Country Overview

According to topschoolsintheusa, Norway is a constitutional monarchy in which the king has only a ceremonial function and the government is ruled by the prime minister, currently Erna Solberg. The Parliament, unicameral since 2009, has 169 members, elected every four years with a proportional system and with a threshold for parties set at 4%, which takes the form of a multi-party structure, in which coalition governments are often formed. Historically, the Labor Party has always been Norway’s largest political force, and center-left coalitions have ruled for much of the years following World War II. In the elections of 9 September 2013, however, it was the center-right alliance to take power, after eight consecutive years spent in opposition. Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party has formed a minority coalition together with the Progressive Party (PP), a populist group that promotes anti-immigration measures. Solberg’s choice to forge an alliance with progressives has drawn criticism from many politicians, including liberals and Christian Democrats, whose parties have refused to join the government, although they guarantee support for individual measures. Between 1999 and 2006 he served in the PPAnders Breivik, a young Norwegian who declared himself anti-multiculturalist, anti-Marxist and anti-Islamist, convicted of the attacks of 22 July 2011 in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, which killed 77 people and injured 96 others Although the PP based part of its consensus on a stricter immigration policy, the decision in June 2015 to welcome 8,000 Syrian refugees was viewed with considerable hostility by most of the public. This factor also weighed on the poor success achieved by the PP in the administrative elections in September 2015, when the party achieved the worst result in the last twenty years.

Population, society and rights

Norway can boast first place in both the world rankings relating to human development and that relating to freedom of the press.

The Norwegian state stands out internationally for its efficient welfare state model, favored by the redistribution of energy revenues. The state guarantees, in fact, free education, including university, to all citizens, as well as free health care and a very efficient public pension system. Freedom of the press is encouraged by the state, with state subsidies for the major newspapers, even if they are private and related to a specific political area. Finally, some laws guarantee gender equality, such as that of 2006 which establishes that, in more than 500 companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, at least 40% of the board of directors must be made up of women. To date, about 40% of the seats in parliament and half of the ministerial posts are occupied by women.

Since the 1980s, there has been a significant influx of immigration in the country – currently immigrants, plus Norwegians born to immigrant parents, have reached 815,000 people, or about 15.6% of the total population. The main countries of origin are Poland, Sweden and Lithuania, while people of Syrian origin are on the increase. In recent years, the migratory phenomenon has compensated for the slowdown in population growth, helping to keep this figure positive (1.1%).

Most Norwegians are Evangelical-Lutheran, designated the state religion by Article 2 of the Constitution. However, the Constitutional Charter guarantees full freedom of worship for believers of other faiths.

Economy and energy

Thanks to the huge resources of hydrocarbons present in the subsoil of its territory and in its seabed, Norway is one of the countries with the highest GDPper capita worldwide, with a value of $ 67,671 per year. Oslo produces just under 2 million barrels of oil per day and more than half of the gas produced in Europe. Although the oil peak was reached in 2001 (3.4 million barrels per day produced) and it is estimated that in about ten years the reserves could run out, natural gas resources seem to guarantee the country still good prospects for average energy revenues. and long term. While the industrial sector is dominated by the hydrocarbon sector (which the government has recently announced that it intends to privatize to a limited extent), the predominant sector of the Norwegian economy is that of services, which constitutes about 60% of GDP.national. Agriculture is not particularly developed, while fishing is a very important resource for Norway. Moscow’s countermeasures in reaction to sanctions against it, including the blocking of agri-food imports, threaten to significantly affect fisheries, a sector which in 2013 exported 10% of its products to Russia. A damage that could be partially offset by the recent renegotiation of access to the EU markets for Norwegian seafood.

Mostly directed to Western and Central European countries, such as the UK, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands, exports are made up of around 60% oil and gas. Thanks to the revenues deriving from these resources, Norway has established its own sovereign fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, which is the first in the world by capital (more than 864 billion dollars) and thanks to which Oslo is one of the largest direct investors abroad. Despite the presence of oil and gas resources, the energy mix Norway is very diversified and 39.5% of electricity generation comes from hydroelectric sources. Given the country’s development and the relatively small size of its population, Norway is among the top countries in the world for per capita electricity consumption.

Closely linked to the energy issue is the environmental one: in 2008 the government passed a law that provides for a 30% reduction in emissions of harmful gases by 2020, supported by all political forces in the country, with the exception of the Progressive Party. The issue of whaling also remains debated, a practice which Norway continues to resort to, despite protests from animal welfare and environmental organizations.

Norway Country Overview