5 OUTSIGHTS: HOW DO FUNCTION PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND DIPLOMATIC SERVICE IN NORWAY

Our group trip to Norway was surprisingly interesting. I would like to share some of my observations about the organization of public institutions and diplomatic service of the Kingdom. Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs has allowed us to communicate with a large number of employees, ask them any questions and just feel  how work  local public administrations. We also spoke to the first Ambassador of Norway in Ukraine Mr. Olav Berstad. Only this action – to invite to a meeting with the youth delegation the person who is the most competent in the matter that will be discussed – institution showed very professional approach. Not to mention correspondence by email: answers to letters received at once and are meaningful.

 

In general, from seen the following generalizations can be made:

  • Firstly, In Norwegian MFA work more employees than in the national department of Foreign Affairs, about 800 people in the central office, 600 over us. Accordingly, along with the employees of foreign diplomatic institutions, there are  2, 5 and 1,5 thousand employees. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is– the largest ministry in the Norwegian government. The Employees of the Ministry have related salaries, which roughly correlate with income of persons employed in similar positions in the private sector. Due to this, institution gets competent and motivated personnel.

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  • Secondly, the level of logistical support in the Norwegian diplomats are quite decent and allow to perform official tasks effectively. Thus, at the entrance to the MFA can see parking for bikes and I suspect that not only the administrative and technical staff get to work by bikes but it has the general aspect of culture, quite specific as to Ukrainian.

 

Over the past two years, Ukrainian diplomacy has demonstrated many strengths and positive aspects, but to achieve the full effectiveness, the enthusiasm is not enough.

  • Thirdly, the urgent need is to share political positions and professional civil servants. It is crucial for establishing a sustainable foreign policy, exclude decision-making for reasons other than national interests. In Norway the Minister is – a purely political position, an important role, especially in personnel matters plays a Secretary – chief of staff – a career diplomat. We hope that roughly the same mechanisms are possible in Ukraine with the adoption of a new law on public service.
  • Fourthly, the MFA fully supervises popularization of Norway in the world, cultural diplomacy is what our country so lacking. Unfortunately, Ukraine still does not have strong positive associations with anything positive in the eyes of ordinary foreigner. In addition, there is little information about Ukraine available for foreign languages, with the exception of events of the last two years – Revolution of Dignity and War – often information about our country is relayed to the world from the perspective of Russia that distorts the real situation and form the opinion favorable to our enemies.
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  • Fifthly, there is an urgent need to increase the prestige of civil servants, and especially diplomats. In Norway, you can work in MFA after passing a competition university graduates who are proud of this opportunity to build a career and to serve their country. This attitude of youth and perception of society is possible only in the situation when one grow and save  personnel. Diplomatic career is a powerful tool for self-realization and often attracts the most successful and talented. Without the prestige of public service and corresponding software that is not expected.

Volodymyr Riznichenko