Demography and economic geography
Northern European state. Despite having a very large surface area (four times the size of Italy), the Kingdom of Norway is the least populated of the Scandinavian states: according to UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) estimates, the total population has increased by approximately 18%, from 4,347,695 residents in 1995 to 5,091,924 in 2014. Until 2010 the Parliament discussed some territorial reorganization projects, with the aim of regrouping the twenty-one current counties (fylke) in a smaller number of regions (from five to nine), but without reaching completion. Norway is neither part of the European Union (EU), nor of the euro zone: even in recent years it has confirmed its primacy as the largest oil producer in Western Europe, always appearing at the top of the statistics on the quality of life of the population. For Norway society, please check homosociety.com.
The geographical distribution of immigration in Norway is important both for understanding the context of the attacks that took place in Oslo and on the island of Utøya on July 22, 2011, and for understanding the general lines of the political parties’ programs. Also in Norway, as in neighboring Sweden, the last ten years have been characterized by intense immigration, coming above all from the most problematic areas of the planet, to escape not only hunger and lack of opportunities, but also from wars and persecutions. If, in fact, the presence of relevant communities from neighboring countries is put in brackets (such as Sweden, 38,414; Germany, 26,683; Denmark, 20,897; United Kingdom, 14,774), the most numerous groups come from Africa (Somalia, 35,912; Eritrea, 14,397; Morocco, 9111), from Asia (Pakistan, 34,447; ῾Irāq, 30,144; Vietnam, 21,721; Philippines, 19,886; Irān, 19,793; Turkey, 17,345; Thailand, 16,559; Afghānistān, 15,459; Srī Laṅkā, 14,797; India, 12,924; China, 9,491) and, above all, from Eastern Europe (Poland, 91,179; Lithuania, 35,912; Russia, 18,770; Bosnia, 16,845; Kosovo, 14,408; Romania, 11,068; Latvia, 9460). Also in Norway, immigration has the greatest impact in large cities: particularly in the population of the capital, Oslo, which in twenty years has increased from 482,555 to 634,463 residents (+ 31.5%), one third of whom are immigrants, constantly increasing. In 2013, 40% of children enrolled in primary schools came from immigrant families: a percentage that rises every year. Nationally, immigrants have more than tripled, from 226,260 in 1995 to 717,302 in 2014.
The years at the turn of the first decade of the 21st century. were characterized by the action of the ‘rossoverdi’ executives led by Labor Jens Stoltenberg: after the 2005 elections, in fact, the Labor Party (AP, Arbeiderpartiet) – the main Norwegian political force – had returned to the government, in a coalition with the Party of the socialist left (SV, Sosialistisk Venstreparti) and the centrist party (SP, Senterpartiet). This government undertook to invest the wealth from oil revenues in spending on education, health and welfare, allowing Norway to overcome without drastic consequences the global crisis that began in 2008. During this period, environmental problems constituted one of the hottest topics in the political debate. On the one hand, in fact, the melting of the ice forced the government to plan drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions; on the other hand, the start of investigations by the oil companies to begin drilling in the North Sea met with strong resistance (from environmentalists, local fishermen, SV).
Although with a small advantage, the center-left government was reconfirmed after the elections of September 2009, the first following the 2007 reform that had made the Parliament unicameral: the PA took 35.4% of the votes (64 seats), the SV and the SP accounted for 6.2% (11 seats) each. The populist Progress Party (FRP, Fremskrittspartiet) emerged as the second political force in the country which, with 22.9% of the votes (41 seats), surpassed the primacy of the conservative Right party (H, Høyre), which took the 17, 2% (30 seats). The FRP program was based on tax cuts and privatizations and a squeeze on the entry of immigrants into the country, in the name of defending an alleged ‘cultural purity of the Norwegian people’.
On 22 July 2011, Norway was shocked by a serious terrorist attack: a series of explosions in Oslo, at the seat of the government, and a shooting on the island of Utøya, during a camp of young Labor, resulted in the killing of 77 people. Anders Breivik, a 30-year-old Norwegian who declared himself a Christian, anti-multiculturalist, anti-Marxist and anti-Islamist, was held solely responsible for the organization of the attacks. In August 2012, Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum penalty foreseen by Norwegian law, which however can be extended if it is still considered a threat to society.
After the elections of September 2013, despite the fact that the PA was still the most voted party (30.8%, 55 seats), a center-right coalition formed by Høyre, party of the new premier Erna Solberg, returned to the government, who obtained the 26th, 8% of the votes (48 seats), and by the FRP (16.3%, 29 seats). The alliance with the progressives, within which Breivik had militated between 1999 and 2006, cost the conservatives a lot of criticism: the small socioliberal party and the Christian-popular party refused to join the ruling coalition, while guaranteeing their support on individuals measures. Stimulated by the threat of Islamic terrorism, widespread throughout Northern Europe,
As for foreign relations, in 2010, after four decades of disputes, an agreement was signed with Russia for the definition of the borders in the Barents Sea, very important in the Arctic balances. Furthermore, the probable melting of the Arctic ice began to outline a new dispute between Norway, United States, Russia, Canada and Denmark over the sovereignty in those areas, in view of the possibility of new trade routes and the exploitation of new hydrocarbon resources off -shore.
In 2006 the Norway withdrew the small contingent sent to ῾Irāq in 2003 with peacekeeping tasks, while guaranteeing the commitment in the international peace missions of the UN (United Nations Organization) and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), as evidenced by the supply of military aircraft to the latter’s mission in Libya in 2011.