Nyhet | Dato: 10.05.2002
The Royal Ministry of Foreign
Norway Daily No. 87/02
Date: 10 May 2002
Armed EU police could be stationed in Norway (Aftenposten)
If the European Commission gets its way we could see heavily armed EU police stationed at Norwegian ports and airports in four or five years. The Commission wants to create a joint European border police force to guard the EU’s outer perimeter against illegal immigration, drug smuggling and terrorism. The proposal has a direct impact on Norway which, through the Schengen Agreement, has become part of the EU’s passport-free zone in return for providing border controls into the Schengen area. "This will also be a controversial proposal in other countries, but it shows how concerned the EU is to combat terrorism, organized crime and people trafficking," said State Secretary Kim Traavik at the Foreign Ministry.
Illegal help from SAS (Dagsavisen)
The problems have been piling up since SAS’s management announced its decision in May last year to buy Braathens, its only real competitor in the Norwegian domestic market. According to professor of law Henning Jakhelln, if Braathens’ planes keep flying with the help of SAS employees during a strike of Braathens workers, it would amount to blacklegging. Gerd-Liv Valla, president of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is also backing the Braathens workers in their bitter inter-union battle. "We understand why the Braathens employees feel cheated," she said.
Substance abusers face delay in care reform plan (Aftenposten)
Last October Social Affairs Minister Ingjerd Schou promised a quick and radical reorganization of the care offered to substance abusers. The first step was to have been the transfer of responsibility for providing specialist healthcare to substance abusers from the County Councils to the central government in January 2003 – a move which would have given this group real patient rights in terms of treatment and follow-up. But the Government has now admitted its original schedule was too ambitious. The plan now is for the Government to take over responsibility for this group from 1 January 2004.
Declined a seat on the Peres board (Dabladet)
Former State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry Jan Egeland declined the offer of a seat on the international board of the Peres Peace Centre in Israel. Mr Egeland felt it was not proper to involve himself in an institution which was, at the same time, receiving large grants of money from Norway. Thorbjørn Jagland and Terje Rød-Larsen on the other hand both accepted Shimon Peres’s invitation.
Rail and airline passengers face major strike (NTB)
Next week the Norwegian transport sector could face severe disruption from a series of major strikes. Workers in the postal service, NSB (the national railway company) and the air transport sector are threatening to take strike action. The toughest weeks of this spring’s round of wage negotiations start on Monday. Most groups in the private sector have reached an agreement without arbitration, with the high-profile exception of the hotel workers who are currently on strike. And while a negotiated settlement was achieved by central government workers, only the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations has avoided going to arbitration in the local government sector.
Farmers call for cut in wolverine population (NTB)
Farmers’ organizations are demanding a cut in the country’s wolverine population before they let their sheep out into the mountains for the summer. The Directorate for Nature Management is now considering a number of applications to hunt wolverines and destroy wolverine nests – which means killing wolverine mothers and their young. But so far attempts to destroy wolverine nests have not been successful anywhere.
- The Children and Family Affairs Ministry is top of the class when it comes to employing women in senior positions. 49 per cent of its leaders are women. Worst is the Defence Ministry. Only 11 per cent of its managers are women. 27 per cent of the Foreign Ministry’s senior staff are women, up from 21 per cent in 1997. (Aftenposten)
- In the mid-nineties the UN reacted so strongly to Terje Rød-Larsen’s high-spending ways that they cut off his funds. Instead he received money from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. News of this prompted an angry response from Progress Party chairmen Carl I. Hagen. (Dagsavisen)
- Mona Juul worked at the Foreign Ministry and handled requests for financial assistance from the Peres Centre for at least two years before she and her husband Terje Rød-Larsen received NOK 900,000 from the Centre in the form of a peace prize. This goes against what Ms Juul herself said publicly in statements over the past few weeks. (Verdens Gang)
- As newly appointed Social Affairs Minister Ingjerd Schou promised to come up with an action plan which would solve the problem of poverty in Norway within four years. After seven months in the job she is still struggling to define what poverty is. (Dagbladet)
- 51 per cent of those questioned in a recent poll support proposals for lower taxes for farmers. The Labour Party has secured a majority in the Storting for the Government’s tax proposal. (Nationen)
- According to the Directorate for Nature Management, DNA tests carried out in Sweden have confirmed that the Scandinavian wolf population does not stem from cross-bred animals or animals which have been released into the countryside from elsewhere. The Directorate makes this claim in a report on the genetic condition of Norway’s large predators. (Nationen)
- In 1978 11,755 people notified the authorities of their decision to leave the Church of Norway. Last year only 3,866 left the Church, while more people are joining. (Vårt Land)
- Salmon importers in the EU have become hostages in the salmon war. Many of them have stopped buying Norwegian salmon for fear of punitive import duties. (Aftenposten)
Today’s comment from Aftenposten
King Harald and Queen Sonja today conclude their state visit to Canada, a country which, despite it being so far away, we have closer connections with than most of us are aware. One thing is the discovery by Anne Stine and Helge Ingstad of evidence of Viking settlements in Newfoundland. Another is the Norwegian expedition led by Otto Sverdrup, which 100 years ago explored and mapped large parts of what is today northern Canada. Sverdrup even annexed this region, though the Norwegian government feel there was no need to follow up his actions. Canadians are aware of what he accomplished, and are planning a special celebration of his achievements this year – 100 years after he and his crew returned to Norway in their polar exploration vessel ‘Fram’. Fine words and fancy gestures have never been part of our relationship with Canada. We approach each other with a practical level-headedness which suits both peoples’ wishes and mentality.