Interview with Kristian Røed, First Secretary at Royal Norwegian Embassy in Madrid.


Kristian’s background is:

Professional career:

First Secretary

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Madrid

August 2012 – Currently (1 year 11 months)

First Secretary

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Santiago de Chile

August 2009 – September 2012 (3 years 2 months)

Higher Executive Officer

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

August 2007 – August 2009 (2 years1 month)Oslo

Diplomat Academy including one year in the Section for Trade Policy and 6 months in the Section for Latin America.

Officer

European Free Trade Association – EFTA

July 2005 – August 2007 (2 years 2 months)Brussels, Belgium

Desk officer with responsibility for follow-up of the EFTA Agreement within the areas of Financial Services, Company Law, the Services Directive and EU macroeconomic policy.

Advisor

EUROCHAMBRES

January 2003 – July 2005 (2 years 7 months)Bruselas y alrededores, Bélgica

Trade/economic policy analyst and lobbyist.

Intern

European Commission Delegation to Norway and Iceland

August 2002 – December 2002 (5 months)Oslo, Norway

Academic career:

College of Europe

MA, EU policy and economics

2001 – 2002

Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

MA/Siviløkonom, Int Business and Economics

1997 – 2001

After sending an e-mail to the norwegian embassy, with an early response, Kristian granded me the interview where i started by saying: Good morning sr. Røed. Thank you for granting me an interview. To start with, I would like to know what are the main functions that the norwegian embassy has here in Spain.

Kristian kindly answerd me that we could be speaking a couple of hours about this. But the short version would be to mantain the relation between Norway and Spain. This is made by political and economical cooperation. We help norwegian companies or exporters here in Spain. On another hand the consular plays also a very important role. Last year we had a number of 1.500.000 norwegians coming to Spain, which represents 1/4 of the norwegian population. And the number is increasing, being Spaing the favorist country apart from the escandinavian countries.

Then I wanted to know if Norways has been afected by the economic crisis in some point? To that, Krsitian said that comparing to other countries no, but that Norway have been very lucky. Krisitian attributes this to the exported products such as oil and gas. It also has to be remembered that in the 80’s – 90’s, Norway suffered a economic crisis, so as Norway experienced it, they changed the banking system. This is why they were able to avoid the current economic crisis.

Their economy diffes a lot from all of the European ones, this has much to do with the oil and gas resources. So they have not been afected that much by the current crisis, the unemployment is about an 3%.

On the other hand, taking into account that the oil industry is one of the most important factors of the norwegian economy, I asked if Norway was prepared if this sector was no longer demandated, or if it will end one day. To what Kristian answered: This is a very good question. Many norwegians ask them self this question. We are very lucky to have this resource, its like gold. What we have done right is to build the industry. The norwegian oil industries pay around 80% of taxation. We should be ready to a day without oil. So we should bet for other resources such as renewable resources. Something is going to replace the oil in a long term. Fishing is a very important resource, aquaculture of salmon, also aluminum, but these are natural resources.

This is why we want to build a knowledge socity, to educate the people and prepare them to when oil is no longer the exported resource.

Talking about policy, last year there were political elections in norway. There was a change from the center-left party to a coalition between the right, and extreme right. So my question was if Norways had seen changes alter this. The norwegian embassador said that we can not compare the extreme right in Norway with the spanish one. There is for example no racism, there is just a different immigration policy.

There has been some changes, but what has to be understood is that in Norway the differences between the different parties are very small. However, it is early to see marked differences yet.

The conservative party wants Norway to take place in the European Union, but this is not going to happen with this government for the time being. We had a referendum in 1994, were a majority said no to it, so it is currently political impossible.

Norway is not a member of the European Union, however they have to follow the economic rules of the Union, but they can not give their view at all or intervene. So my following question was why didn’t they want to join the EU. Kristian answered that they were members of the European Economic Area. The internal market for goods, capital and services works as here in Spain. However they can not decide anything, even if they depend economicaly on the European Union and follow the laws established by the EU.

There is a ongoing debate, some of the norwegian population want to be a member, others just don’t want to join. But as I said before, it wont happen with this goverment.

To end up the interviw I thanked him for granting me the interview. It was a great pleasure for me, to what he said that the pleasure was his.

This oportunity I had to interview an embassador from Norway was very interesting, specially to get to know better how the relation between a non European Union member interacts with the EU, and also specifically with Spain. This was a very good experience to thank.

Ana Sande Peña

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