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Country Reports

Norway Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The departure of the right-wing Progressive Party (FrP) from the ruling coalition in January 2020 deprived the government of its parliamentary majority. Minority governments are common in Norway and such formation is unlikely to affect its ability to function. Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the government overall now enjoy higher public support owing to the perceived effective response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak, mitigating instability risks. FrP is likely to support the government from opposition, which means that government stability in 2020 is unlikely to be compromised. While in coalition, FrP complained of having too little influence on policy direction. Moving into opposition and having the government rely on its support will increase its scope. This is likely to be reflected primarily in right-wing policies to attract more support, including a tougher anti-immigration stance. In fact, the immigration issue has been the main point of contention between the government and FrP since the latter’s departure. However, it has not prevented FrP’s support on other issues, especially policy response to the pandemic. The mainland economy will be under greater pressure during 2020. Enforced social distancing measures and a national lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19 hit consumer-facing services and non-essential retail spending in the first half of this year. An additional drag will result from acute income losses for firms and households as a result of the collapse in global crude-oil prices, which will also hit offshore investment. However, Norway has a substantial fiscal surplus to mitigate some of the damage.The economy is now expected to contract by 7.2% in 2020 before expanding by 2.7% in 2021, according to the July 2020 update. More encouragingly, the balance of risks has shifted from tilting to the downside to balanced, and is a result of the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.
Last update: July 18, 2020

Operational Outlook

Norway welcomes foreign investment, especially in the northern regions, the petroleum sector, and mainland industry. Some sectors have restrictions for activities and ownership, including maritime transport, fishing, and agriculture. Although unit labour costs are relatively high compared with OECD peers, the workforce is highly skilled and educated. Unionisation levels are high, but strikes primarily occur in connection with regular, biannual collective wage negotiations, and are well regulated. Moreover, the government retains the right to force a settlement if a dispute threatens national security or strategic sectors such as the oil and gas sector. Petty bribery is virtually non-existent. Corruption is most likely to manifest itself in conflict-of-interest issues.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

Norway's participation in the NATO operation in Afghanistan and three Norwegian newspapers' publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons in 2005–06 has made Norway a symbolical target for jihadist militants. The primary risk stems from firearm attacks by self-radicalised individuals, including dozens of potential returnees who have fought with jihadists in Syria and Iraq, against soft targets similar to those seen in Belgium, Denmark, and France in 2014–15. Terrorist attacks by far-right extremists are rare, despite the July 2011 IED and firearm attacks by an individual attacker against a government building and a Labour Party youth camp, and the attempted attack on a mosque in 2019.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

Although still limited in scope, organised criminal activity has grown in recent years in Norway, fuelled by the internationalisation of such activity across Europe. The National Criminal Investigation Service has identified the construction, hotel and restaurant, transport, cleaning, and agricultural sectors, as well as increasingly the retail sector, as those that are most prone to labour-market criminality. These include tax fraud, exploitation of illegal workers, money laundering, and violence. The risk of violence by criminal networks is the highest in the capital, Oslo, but targeted attacks are likely to be confined to rival gangs and networks.

Last update: June 17, 2020

War Risks

Norway is very unlikely to become involved in an interstate conflict affecting its territory. The country's membership in NATO and shared border with Russia in the north will make it vulnerable in the unlikely event of a NATO-Russia conflict. However, this is unlikely to occur despite the deterioration of relations between Western Europe and Russia. Any conflict within Norwegian-controlled areas would likely be offshore in the high north and as part of a potential (but unlikely) NATO-Russia conflict in the Arctic.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

Moderate

Protests against dismissals caused by falling commodity prices or the government's labour market policies are likely to be peaceful. Environmentalist groups are active and are most likely to target the oil and gas sector, whaling industry, hydropower sector, and wind farms. These protests will primarily occur through peaceful information campaigns, demonstrations, and marches rather than violence. There is a low risk of property damage during demonstrations by radical and anarchist groups in Oslo. Risks of demonstrations have been lowered by the restrictions on public gatherings in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus pandemic. Positive public perception of the government’s response to the pandemic mitigates the risk of anti-government protests.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Health Risk

Low

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

High

It is advised to monitor weather channels during travel to Norway as weather can change very rapidly, especially in northern areas. It is possible to experience arctic weather in the middle of summer.

Flooding is common in Norway, especially during spring; landslides often accompany the floods.

North of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise at all from mid-November to the end of January. Snowstorms or blizzards are common during winter time and can lead to electricity outages and transportation disruptions.

Hikers should be conscious of the dangers inherent to mountainous and polar regions. All hikers should be well-equipped and properly trained before any excursion. It is advisable to hire a professional guide if hiking on glaciers. It is advised against going alone. In case of a trip to Svalbard, and archipelagos between Norway and the Northern Pole, it is crucial to prepare meticulously for the trip by reading up on current laws and following local authorities' advice regarding polar bears attacks and avalanches. 

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

The Norwegian motorway network is in good condition. Due to geographical and climatic constraints, the road network is more developed in the South than in the North.

Weather conditions can disrupt travel. Some roads can be closed during the winter due hazardous conditions; mountain roads, particularly those that are narrow and winding, are very dangerous. Vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires from November 1 until April 15.

Trains mostly serve major cities and can be slow in some areas. When train services are disrupted, rail replacement bus services are provided.

Sea and air transportation - more than 50 airports are spread across the country- is very well developed in Norway. Since 2015, identity controls have been reinstated at harbors for departures and arrivals to and from Denmark and Germany. Similar controls could be established with the Swedish land border.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Norway's climate is characterized by considerable fluctuations in weather patterns from one year to another, particularly in the country's most northerly regions. The average annual temperature ranges from 8°C along the western coast to below freezing in mountainous areas. The two coldest months are January and February. Precipitation is relatively constant throughout the year, with snow common in the winter, particularly in inland regions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 47
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 110
Ambulance: 113

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019