Norway Progress on the terminology offensive / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Norway Progress on the terminology offensive. Rightists the Progress Party (FrP) held a press conference, Tuesday, aimed at setting the record straight about their political leanings. Some 50 Norwegian and international press journalists gathered inside the Party’s headquarters just off Oslo’s Karl Johans gate to listen to what was said at this post-election pre-Cabinet time. Kristian Norheim, Progress’ head of international affairs, told The Foreigner by phone the conference was called in order to “explainin who we are, and definitely who we are not.”

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Norway Progress on the terminology offensive

Published on Tuesday, 17th September, 2013 at 20:06 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 17th September 2013 at 20:39.

Rightists the Progress Party (FrP) held a press conference, Tuesday, aimed at setting the record straight about their political leanings.



Some 50 Norwegian and international press journalists gathered inside the Party’s headquarters just off Oslo’s Karl Johans gate to listen to what was said at this post-election pre-Cabinet time.

Kristian Norheim, Progress’ head of international affairs, told The Foreigner by phone the conference was called in order to “explainin who we are, and definitely who we are not.”

“It was very important we did this because of the distorted picture many foreign media have painted of Progress.”

Last week, UK paper The Independent headlined Progress’ September 9 general election victory as ‘Anti-immigrant party with links to mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik set to enter government under Conservative leader Erna Solberg’.

Convicted terrorist Breivik was a member of Progress Youth Wing (FpU) for several years before his 22 July twin attacks, but was not that day in 2011.

“He left the Party because he couldn’t find anyone who sympathized with his views. He was a passive member”, said Kristian Norheim, “and we would also have excluded him if he had exhibited such radicalism then.”

“He was an FpU member, unfortunately, but I feel disgusted thinking about it, even now,” Mr Norheim added.

The Party, to the very Right in the Norwegian Parliament, has also been called Right Extremists.

Socialist Left (SV) Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås fanned the flames recently, stating that people abroad perceive Progress as being Norway’s Right Wing Populist Party.

He refused to apologise for this description in the ensuing imbroglio, after comparing it to the Danish People’s Party and the Swedish Democrats.

So where does Progress lie, politically?

“Centre-Right would be a fair description,” explained Kristian Norheim.

“We’re a pragmatic and classical Liberal Party. We’re generally more akin to those such as Denmark’s Liberal Party, Britain’s Conservative Party, the Czech Republic’s Civic Democratic Party (ODF), Iceland’s Independence Party, and the US’ Republicans.”

The Foreigner also spoke with president of Progress Youth and Deputy MP Himanshu Gulati about the Party’s Breivik label.

Why do you think Progress has been classified like this?

“He [Breivik] was a member many years ago. Those who have written about FrP describe the Party as part of the problem, not the solution. This is extremely unfair. The way he acted is contrary to the values we fight for every day.”

“The Norwegian public know what Progress stands for,” Mr Gulati, of Indian origin but born in Norway, commented.

How do you react to being labelled an anti-immigration Party?

“We’re not against immigration at all; we just want to reduce the numbers coming to Norway. In fact, we were the second-biggest Party in Norway amongst the immigrant population in 2009 [at the last general election].”

What would you say to some people claiming Progress is only interested in the right type of immigrant?

“Far too large a part of the immigrant population is on welfare – some 30 per cent of the Norwegian workforce between 18 and 65 - amongst some of the immigrant groups. This isn’t economically-sustainable in the long-run,” said Mr Gulati.

“We also realise all immigration is not just about work. We receive asylum seekers too. Some of them are more difficult to integrate.”

But, if you forgive the term, many ethnic Norwegian youths are also drawing welfare.

“We want to see more incentives for people to contribute to the economy and pay taxes instead of becoming a burden,” Mr Gulati concluded.

Negotiations as to whether Progress will form part of the Centre-Right coalition continue.



Published on Tuesday, 17th September, 2013 at 20:06 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 17th September 2013 at 20:39.

This post has the following tags: norwayprogressparty, rightwingnorway.





  
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