Forgotten World (100): Norway

In at least one respect, Norway is an unusual European country: it is not a member of the European Union and has currently no wish to become a member. Referenda in 1972 and 1994 failed to secure a majority in favour of EU membership.
Norway is happy to stand alone in large part thanks to the discovery in the late 1960s of offshore oil and gas deposits. Annual oil revenue now amounts to around $40bn (£21bn). More than half of Norway’s exports come from this sector. To counter inflation, there is cross-party agreement to restrict spending of oil revenue. The very considerable surplus is invested for future generations.
Norway’s 4.6 million people enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita in the world and the country has maintained 1st place in the world in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for the fifth consecutive year (2006).