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Norway

Yearbook 2002

2002 NorwayNorway. At year-end, Norway agreed with the oil cartel OPEC on reduced oil production to push up the world market price of oil. During the first half of the year, the price recovered from the sharp decline after September 11, 2001 and in June Norway decided to increase its production again. At that time, there were about 700 billion Norwegian kroner in the state fund, which saves the surplus from oil production.

2002 Norway

In the spring, the Norwegian Bank and the insurance company Storebrand negotiated a merger, which was intended to create the largest financial group in Norway. But the deal fell on disagreement on pricing in the exchange of shares. It was Storebrand's second merger failure in less than a year.

According to Countryaah website, an extensive journalist strike in the early summer affected about 3,300 journalists in close to 130 workplaces. The dispute concerned the requirement of a sixth holiday week for journalists with many years of service.

In June, the new express train between Oslo and Stockholm was inaugurated, reducing the travel time to less than five hours.

In July, Norway resumed whale meat exports for the first time in 14 years. Norway has made reservations against the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on whaling and the Norwegian authorities allowed a catch quota of 671 whales during the year.

In August, a child porn story was revealed in which about 700 people were suspected of crime. But the police did not have the resources to beat everyone, but the raid was limited to those who bought child pornography images at least three times. Thus, about 160 people were arrested.

During the fall, at least five people died of methanol poisoning after drinking wood liquor. Over 20 people became ill. About a dozen people were arrested on suspicion of selling wooden spirits, which were probably smuggled from Sweden.

Based on Digopaul, the Norwegian krone strengthened sharply during the year, resulting in exports falling by 15% in the first half of the year. In relation to the Swedish krona, the rate reached a higher level than ever since Norway got his own currency in 1819. In July, a Swedish hundred notes was worth around SEK 78. This led to dramatically increased border trade on the Swedish side. Not only the krone exchange rate but also differences in alcohol taxes helped the Norwegians to buy e.g. wine almost half as cheap in Sweden as at home.

The Progress Party (FRP), which constituted the right-wing opposition of the bourgeois tripartite government, demanded sharply lower fees to reduce border trade before the autumn budget negotiations and also wanted to use oil money for improved welfare. The party therefore reacted strongly when the government's draft budget for 2003 hardly contained any tax relief at all. With a tight budget, the government wanted to counteract that the krona strengthened further and that the industry would lose even more competitiveness. Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik explained that he was prepared to resign if the Storting were to push through a budget that used too much of the oil income and that risked interest rate hikes and increased unemployment. The government's negotiations with the Frp on the budget failed. Negotiations with the Labor Party were also unsuccessful, but finally the government agreed to a compromise with Frp, which received increased pensions.

During the year, Norwegian diplomats were involved in negotiations in a number of conflicts in the world. In Sri Lanka, they contributed to the ceasefire that closed in April following a civil war that has been going on for 20 years. The parties further negotiated in Oslo and agreed at the end of the year to introduce a federal system in Sri Lanka, which will give the Tamil regions regional autonomy.

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