The speakers from both Ukraine and Norway elaborated on how the relationship between two countries has evolved during the past 20 years, and how it will be shaped in the future.
The seminar having taken place at NUPI’s center in Oslo on Thursday, 8 march started with welcome address by the NUPI director Ulf Sverdrup.
In the first session, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway – Torgeir Larsen, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine – Pavlo Klimkin emphasized how Norway and Ukraine are sharing a common heritage and deep historical ties since Viking times. While Klimkin noted the humanitarian and economic dimension of the realtionships, Larsen pointed out that OECD and CoE are two common gorunds for the strong ties between their countries and Ukraine is an important economic partner for Norway.
On the other hand, Norway’s first ambassador to Ukraine- Øyvind Nordsletten shared his experiences and observations during the years when he served in the country.
From left to Right:Sigmund Eckhougen (Managing Director of the Norwegian Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce), Vibeke Greni (Deputy Director General, Ministry of Trade and Industry of Norway), Jon Fredriksen (Ambassador of Norway to Ukraine), Oleg Grigoryevich Bilorus (Chairman of the Permanent Delegation of Ukraine to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Head of the Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Ukrainian Parliament), B.Atamanenko (Head of the International Relations Department, State Space Agency of Ukraine)
In the second part of the seminar, five speakers presented current situation and future plans in the relationship between Norway and Ukraine. Academician, politician and Ukraine’s first Ambassador to the United States, Oleg Grigoryevich Bilorus said he is very optimistic about the future of his country despite the ongoing problems. He suggested that Ukraine does not need re-industrialization but a neo-industrialization to gain its power again.
This session’s other speakers were Jon Fredriksen (Ambassador of Norway to Ukraine), Vibeke Greni (Deputy Director General, Ministry of Trade and Industry of Norway), Sigmund Eckhougen (Managing Director of the Norwegian Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce), and B.Atamanenko (Head of the International Relations Department, State Space Agency of Ukraine). EFTA agreement between two countries, challenges and opportunities in terms of investment and cooperation, and free movement visa regime were the main themes of the speeches.
Fredriksen said EFTA aggreement will be in force in this year and they are working on a free movement visa regime between Ukraine and Norway.
The seminar ended with the reception by the Ukrainian Embassy in Norway.