Overview: Norway and the United States maintained good collaboration on counterterrorism. Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) continued to assess that individuals and groups inspired by “extreme Islamist groups” represented the most significant terrorist threat to Norway. Norway saw an increased level of mobilization and recruitment among certain racially or ethnically motivated extremist groups, although they did not conduct any attacks in 2018. An estimated 100 individuals have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of ISIS and 30 Norwegian-affiliated FTFs remain in Syria and Iraq. In 2018, no known individuals left Norway to join ISIS. Authorities convicted two Norwegians for providing support to ISIS and participation in ISIS operations.
Norway is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The government co-sponsored UNSCRs 2178 and 2396 and contributed to the Coalition’s five lines of effort, including military personnel support to a capacity-building mission for Iraqi security forces in Anbar, Iraq. In 2018, Norway provided approximately US $310 million to address the humanitarian crises in Iraq and Syria.
2018 Terrorist Incidents: Norway reported no terrorist incidents in 2018.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Terrorism is a criminal offense in Norway, and it is illegal to conduct or plan to conduct a terrorist attack, receive terrorism-related training, or provide material support to a terrorist organization. In addition, it is a criminal offense to travel or intend to travel to fight on behalf of a terrorist organization. The maximum prison sentence for serious terrorism offenses is 30 years.
Norway continued to prosecute individuals for terrorism-related offenses in 2018. The most significant convictions in 2018 were of two Norwegian citizens found to have been ISIS members and to have fought on behalf of ISIS in Syria. One convicted terrorist received a prison sentence of seven years and three months and the other received six years and six months.
The PST is responsible for domestic security, including counterterrorism activities. The Joint Counter Terrorism Center, a joint analysis cell, includes participants from the PST and the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), the external security service. Both PST and NIS have devoted significant resources to identifying, tracking, and taking action against Norwegian citizens intending to travel to and from Syria or Iraq to fight for terrorist groups.
Norway shares fingerprint information in criminal investigations with the EU and the parties to the Prüm Convention. Norway continued to explore an agreement on sharing PNR data with the EU and is simultaneously developing a national PNR system, which remained in the pilot phase at the end of 2018. Immigration to Norway is facilitated and regulated by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, which processes all applications for asylum, visas, family immigration, work and study permits, permanent residence, and travel documents. The Norwegian Immigration Database serves as a central repository for immigration authorities and contains biographic data and facial photos for all applicants for admission. The Norwegian police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issue passports that, since 2005, have contained biometric data accessible for review by border security officials. Norway coordinates with INTERPOL and Europol to enhance its vetting processes and has access to the Schengen Information System and the Visa Information System to share and receive information regarding suspected terrorists.
Security measures to protect soft targets in the capital, Oslo, include physical barriers in the streets of one of the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfares and directly outside the neighboring buildings. Police at Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport are now armed on a permanent basis. Norway altered the police training regime to better address the risk of attacks in public places. The National Auditor reported that the government had failed to secure certain elements of public infrastructure sufficiently, such as government and defense facilities, against potential terrorist attacks. The government acknowledged the need for more progress, attributing delays to the complexity of the proposed measures.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Norway is a member of the FATF. Norway’s FIU, which operates within the National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, is a member of the Egmont Group. Norwegian law incorporates FATF standards and recommendations. Norway is a member of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition’s Counter-ISIS Finance Group. The government operates a domestic interagency group, which included the Ministries of Justice, Finance, and Foreign Affairs, to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Countering Violent Extremism: Norway continued to implement its National Action Plan against Radicalization and Violent Extremism, published in 2014, which is a whole-of-government CVE approach. Priorities include strengthening CVE research, improving national and local cooperation on counter-radicalization efforts, promoting the reintegration of former terrorists, and preventing online recruitment and radicalization to violence.
Norway continued to improve coordination among authorities responsible for managing the release from prison and reintegration of those convicted of terrorism-related offenses. Municipalities considered home to populations and individuals most vulnerable to radicalization have created action plans and increased budgets for prevention activities. The national government hosts an annual conference on terrorist radicalization, which in 2018 focused on best practices and collaborative efforts between the police and local governments and agencies in preventing radicalization to violence.
Norway continued to support the Youth Civil Activism Network. Oslo and Kristiansand are members of the Strong Cities Network.
International and Regional Cooperation: Norway is active in multilateral fora in efforts to counter terrorism, including NATO, the EU’s Radicalization Awareness Network, and the OSCE. Norway participated in, and provided financial support to, the GCTF Working Group on Capacity-Building in East Africa, supported INTERPOL’s capacity-building programs on border security and rule of law in North Africa and the Sahel, and funded counter-radicalization programs in prisons in Morocco, Kenya, and Indonesia. Norway continued to support implementation of the UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and is co-chair with Jordan of the Group of Friends at the UN on preventing violent extremism. In 2018, Norway hosted the UNDP conference “Assessing Progress Made, and the Future of Development Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism” and announced it will contribute US $1.2 million to the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism for the 2018-21 period, in partnership with UNDP. Norway supports the GCERF.