We have interviewed the officials from diplomatic community to found out how embassies have organized their diplomatic activities during the state of emergency, as well as, how they spend their free time and what they will do first when the state of emergency is abolished. We talked to H. E. Haakon Blankenborg , Ambassador of Norway.
How did you organize your diplomatic activities?
The Embassy remains open, but we are not receiving visitors. We are all working from home. One home office is event relocated to Norway, due the earthquake here in Zagreb.
We can be reached on our normal phone numbers and by e-mail, or on other digital platforms. You are all welcome to contact us.
Anybody with an urgent need for assistance must ask for an appointment.
Our ambition is to comply with the Croatian instructions and support the Croatian government in their effort to tackle COVID-19 virus. At the same time we try to maintain as many of the functions of the Embassy as possible. International cooperation and international contact is no less important in the time of Corona, it is more important. Only that we have to do it in a different way.
We had planned for a number of activities in the coming months. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the visit by His Majesty the King’s Guard on 25th of May. Now I hope we can enjoy His Majesty the King’s Guard from Norway and the Croatian Honour Guard Battalion and Army Orchestra next May.
We managed to open our new honorary consulate in Split. Unfortunately with no reception and no guests. The consul, Marina Sare, had to unveil the Norwegian coat of arms on the office building herself. The celebration will come later.
How are you spending your private time during the pandemic?
I am privileged. I have plenty of space. In my home office I do only what is job related. I have other rooms for the “private time”.
I thought this would be the time for reading and watching films and documentaries, but no. So far, I have spent most of my “private time” on different audio or video platforms, talking with friends, in Croatia, in Norway and in other countries. Of course, I talk with my family in Norway every day.
Every now and then, I walk to my local shop and queue up. It is nice to meet other people, even om proper distance.
What will you do first after the existing Government measures have been canceled?
Honestly, I don’t know. Most probably, it will be a gradual relaxation of restrictions. If so, first I will have a long walk, and a long coffee at a nice café. Next will be to meet with people in Zagreb and elsewhere in Croatia and to see my family as soon as possible.