Thursday, October 13, 2005

Norway Turns Inwards

- Tre vinnere og ingen tapere -

So the three parties that will govern Norway have now produced the political results of their rather lengthy deliberations.

It's hardly modern. More money in the public sector, but less modernisation of the same. A roll-back of the previous governments commitment to quality and freedom of choice in the education system.

On the controversial issue of oil and gas activities in the more arctic seas off Northern Norway, it seems as if they have just deferred the issue. It's difficult to avoid the impression that the gap on that issue could not be bridged yet.

As expected, Norway will withdraw its rather limited military contribution in Iraq, and this is in spite of the fact that today it is a UN-mandated operation there. And in Afghanistan, Norway will no longer be part of the anti-terrorist Operation Enduring Freedom.

It's easy to see the influence of the more leftist and anti-American strands in the coalition in these decisions.

On the issue of relations to the European Union, future PM Jens Stoltenberg could do little more than stating that this was a suicide issue for the government - if the issue was placed on the agenda, the government would not surivive.

Hardly impressive - although it has to be said that the outgoing centre-right government had the same policy.

Well, Norway turns somewhat more inward and somewhat less modern.

It's all financed by the oil and gas prices...