On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the monarch it senior Advisor shall be: the king of Norway is of interest in the world. And surprise.
Aftenposten: Let’s cut to the chase and start with the fact that is often ignored. We are sitting at this comfortable coffee table at the Prime Minister, and the extent of the power of his office occupies the second place in Norway.
Erna Solberg: strictly speaking according to the Constitution, you are right. According to the Constitution of each government in our country is appointed by the king. In law, the Government also referred to the State Council. And the title of “state Councilor” (Minister — approx. ed.) makes it clear that members of the government give advice to his President. But in fact, few who, like you, says: “Senior king’s counsel”, referring to the Norwegian Prime Minister.
In 2017 and the king and the Queen turns 80 years old. Do you prepare in the State Council the celebration of the anniversary after the weekend?
— On Tuesday the king will not be in place, the Queen’s jubilee on 4 July. An official celebration of both anniversaries will be held on may 10. In the evening of that day, the government will have the pleasure to organize a gala dinner in the foyer of the Norwegian Opera. We hope for good weather, good atmosphere and a taste of the coming summer right on the shores of the Oslo fjord.
— It will be a real debut for the Opera, isn’t it?
— Yes, it is. According to the tradition of formal dinners of the government was organized in the Palace Akershus (Akershus). In the case of a crowded event, we had to use several rooms, which at this time would like to avoid. Moving the celebration of the 80th anniversary in a beautiful, bright building of the Opera right in the middle of Bervice (Bjørvika), we like to give guests a feel for what modern Norway. Also invited close colleagues and friends of the Royal couple, that is, representatives of Royal families from other countries.
Surprise gift? Hardly…
— I’m intrigued. Probably a present from the government of Their Majesties is a real state secret?
— No, the king has already announced that part of the building of the stables behind the Royal Palace will be converted into an exhibition hall. The new facility will be called the Stable of arts Queen Sonja. She is leading the restructuring. According to the plan, the Queen will open the Stables of arts 80th anniversary. I was lucky enough to see her delight: Stable arts — a subject which it touches. Who knows, maybe there will someday appear and a small cafe?
Let’s go back to gifts for an anniversary.
About our Royal couple says a lot the fact that both always want to get something that can bring joy to most people. A gift from the government on the 80th anniversary of the king and Queen will be a digital interactive exhibition of photographs taken by the Queen of Fashion: a collection of her photographs will be exhibited in the Stables of art Queen Sonja. Queen Maud arrived in Norway in 1905, was an avid photographer, just like the current Queen. The photographs, remarkable moments of our history.
— And who is known the following fact: Harald V is the only monarch in Europe who meets every week with his Council, and in dress uniform. And with the sword.
— In every country — their customs. We have in Norway, the State Council going to the Palace every Friday except the summer period. The atmosphere of these meetings always solemn. First, the king and the crown Prince greet each arm. Members of the government, questions which are dealt with, arise and submit the documents to the king.
— And what are you talking about?
Two people can ask questions. More about what is happening in the meeting room of the Council of State, I won’t tell. Prime Ministers from other countries sometimes ask: “Are you really all this is happening?” Yes, it’s a tradition, I say. That is so ruled by Norway.
— Does the head of government regular meetings with His Majesty face to face?
Usually at such meetings there is the crown Prince, and sometimes a Queen. At these monthly meetings, the conversation is often about what is happening in politics. The king is closely watching Norwegian and international policy — and force our form of government, and because of personal interests. We often talk about how things work. And about completely different things. The warmth, care and the fact that the king, his words do not climb, give the meetings a special atmosphere.
— I’m sorry. Mention Paragraph 22 of the Constitution, though it is not too appropriate: “the Prime Minister and other members of the State Council and the state secretaries, may without a prior court decision to retire a king”. In fact, about half of all the paragraphs we are talking about the Regent!
— Actually we are talking about the King in the Council of State, that we are in practice called by the government. Technically, no government, no state Advisor or Secretary of state not resign without obtaining the permission of the king. They are dismissed with honor, as it’s called. This practice is associated with rituals, traditions. In our democracy, the very legitimacy lies in the National Assembly and democracy.
— Let’s talk about the United States, where the head of state is head of government. Unexpectedly, the constitutional issues become extremely relevant…
Since the world is now changing very rapidly, stabilizing factors are particularly important. Other countries may think it a little strange to have the throne that is inherited. I believe that the monarchy provides continuity and reliability, which is not a Republic. And the President with no Executive power, can be highly controversial. In Norway we are lucky because we have a king and Queen with enormous symbolic power.
— Now the Republican who will read this interview, it seems like less and less.
— Symbolic power, or the role depend only on one thing: as humans, endowed with this role, fulfill its mission. Our king and Queen close to the people, they see people and care about those who find it difficult. The Royal couple consistently uses his position to create in Norway a society aimed at integration. It is enough to remember the amazing speech of king Harald during a holiday at the Royal Park last year.
— The head of the government, let’s talk about Paragraph 22 of the Constitution: isn’t it strange to think that the king can just take to fire you?
You forget one significant point: no law or decision of the Council of State will not take effect until their signatures to them will not put the king and the Prime Minister.