News story | Date: 04/04/2002
The Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Norway Daily No. 63/02 OEW/jif
Date: 4 April 2002
COOP supermarket chain to boycott Israel (Dagsavisen)
The cooperative supermarket chain, Coop Norge, is to boycott Israeli products. Coop accounts for one quarter of supermarket purchases in Norway. "We are incensed by what Israel is doing. In our opinion Israel’s actions in the Mid-East conflict should have consequences for our purchasing policy," said Bernt Aas, chief executive of Coop Norge, adding that the Norwegian Coop will approach its Swedish and Danish partners with a view to establishing a Nordic boycott of Israeli products.
Former minister rules out UN intervention (Klassekampen)
Bjørn Tore Godal, a former Labour defence and foreign minister, has ruled out the possibility that UN forces could play a role in the Middle East conflict as long as Israel does not agree to their deployment. "I cannot see that there is anything to gain by UN intervention. UN forces work best when both sides agree to their deployment," said Mr Godal.
Majority support Palestinians (Aftenposten)
A substantial majority of those Norwegians who have formed an opinion on the Mid-East conflict sympathize with the Palestinians. 44 per cent of the Norwegian people feel most sympathy with the Palestinians, while nine per cent feel most for the Israelis. 38 per cent have no sympathy for either party in the conflict.
Fast track pensions for ministers (Aftenposten)
Government ministers should be entitled to a pension after only one year in the job, according to proposals from the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. Today the minimum threshold is three years for ministers who have left a job in the private sector. However, a loophole in the law already gives many ministers a pension after only one year. The difference today is between those who come from private sector jobs and those who were previously employed in the public sector, such as teachers and civil servants, who are already members of a public sector pension fund.
Young Liberals call for new EU debate (Dagsavisen)
Next weekend’s Liberal Party conference will debate Norwegian membership of the EU after the Young Liberals called into question the future of the EEA Agreement. "We want a more active EU debate," said Monica Tjelmeland, leader of the Young Liberals. The Liberal Party’s youth wing believes that a debate of this kind should also consider Norway’s form of association with the EU. The Young Liberals want Norway to join the EU, while the Liberal Party itself is against EU membership.
Farmers abandon Labour (Nationen)
A recent opinion poll has revealed that farmers have turned their backs on Labour. The Labour Party ranks in fifth place, with only 7.7 per cent of farmers giving it their support. Both the Christian Democratic Party and the Progress Party rank higher than Labour. The Centre Party remains the farmers’ favourite. Over half of Norway’s farmers would vote for the Centre Party if there were a general election tomorrow.
Expensive red tape (Verdens Gang)
Norwegian farmers are saddled with an agricultural bureaucracy which costs around NOK 5 billion each year, according to estimates produced by professor Normann Aanesland of the Agricultural University of Norway. Around 10,000 agricultural bureaucrats spend their days administering the 150 or so subsidy schemes which the authorities have created for Norwegian farmers. That means there is one civil servant for every 6.9 farmers.
1 Worth Noting
- If former Conservative prime minister Kåre Willoch had been in office today he would have detached Norway from US policy on the Middle East. "I would have backed the EU’s line, which is far clearer than the American stance," he said. (Dagsavisen)
- The four convicted of complicity in the triple murder which took place at the Orderud family farm in 2000 will be sentenced tomorrow. The country’s leading legal experts feel there is little likelihood that the four will receive different sentences. (Dagbladet)
- Norway makes less use of wood chips and other biomass sources to produce energy than our neighbours. In the Nordic region as a whole more biomass energy is used than hydro-electric power. (Aftenposten)
- Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik made a joke out of EU membership when he met representatives of the fishing and fish farming industries yesterday. However, he did warn that fisheries interests should not be set up against those of the farming lobby. (Dagsavisen)
- Shell has come up empty handed in what was thought to be a promising gas field in the Norwegian Sea. The President field will probably not now be developed because the test well is almost completely dry. (Dagens Næringsliv)
- House prices rose by two per cent from February to March, but real estate agents are anticipating a slowdown in the rate of increase because many more properties are now coming onto the market. (Aftenposten)
- Use of the term ‘miss’ is definitely not a sign of respect, if we are to believe the Gender Equality Ombud. "Many young women today would feel discriminated against to be called ‘miss’, said Inger Dåsnes, communications consultant with the Gender Equality Ombud’s office. (Dagbladet)
2 Today’s comment from Dagsavisen
A parliamentary commission led by Ranveig Frøiland (Lab) has proposed the abolition of impeachment for government ministers. It is not a moment to soon. Impeachment should probably have been abolished 118 years ago when the new parliamentary system was introduced. When the old regime fell, it would have been natural for it to have taken the system of impeachment with it. History has shown that the Storting – with a couple of exceptions – has subsequently given impeachment scant consideration. Archaic legal proceedings such as impeachment and undemocratic arrangements such as the monarchy and the established church should, of course, be swept aside by the forces of progress.