The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is continuing the restructuring of Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad. The aim is to strengthen Norway’s presence in new regions of growth around the world, and to use the Ministry’s resources as effectively as possible. There will therefore be changes in three areas next year. Further changes will be made in 2013.
“The world is changing and we are seeing a clear shift in power to new regions and countries, in particular in Asia. It is important that we make adjustments to the Foreign Service in the light of these changes. We need to have the right resources in the right places,” commented Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
In 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started a restructuring process with a view to releasing resources to strengthen Norway’s presence in several countries and regions undergoing growth, especially in Asia. In 2011, twelve new positions were established in nine countries, including Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and India. The changes planned for 2012 will enable us to further strengthen our presence in priority areas.
The aim of the restructuring of Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad is also to use the resources the Foreign Service has at its disposal as effectively as possible, and to release resources for essential investments, for example in connection with stricter security requirements for missions abroad.
“New technology and new working methods offer new opportunities for carrying out the tasks of the Foreign Service. It is important that we continue our efforts to get more out of the resources at our disposal. Together with our Nordic neighbours we will seek to promote closer cooperation between our diplomatic and consular missions abroad,” Mr Støre said.
The following changes to Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad are planned in 2012:
The Embassy in Skopje (Macedonia) will be closed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make sure that Norway’s relations with Macedonia continue to be properly taken care of in the future.
Norway’s diplomatic presence in Hamburg will be altered. Today’s Consulate General will be changed to an honorary consulate general. Norway’s business representation in Hamburg will continue under the auspices of Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Seafood Export Council.
The organisation of consular services to Norwegians in Spain will be changed. Today’s Consulate General in Alicante will be closed, but a new position will be established at the Embassy in Madrid. The holder of this position will travel regularly to a number of areas where there are large numbers of Norwegian residents in order to provide consular assistance, in collaboration with our network of 14 honorary consulates. The Ministry will establish various practical and technical arrangements to ensure that Norwegians in Spain continue to receive good service from the Foreign Service.
Further changes to the Foreign Service are planned for 2013. For example, the Ministry will look more closely at Norway’s presence in Africa and make adjustments.