Norway restricts the activities of its Consulate in Murmansk. The visa section is closed, diplomats sent home, the local staff was fired. The mayor of a border County of Sør-Varanger, rune Rafaelsen can not respond.
“I am very concerned. From Murmansk I get information about what Norway is phasing out, in particular reducing the number hired in place of workers, and the visa section is now transferred to Moscow,” says Rafaelsen.
By Norwegian standards, the Consulate General of Norway in Murmansk — big, then worked more than 30 employees, which were responsible for important cooperation in the Barents region, as well as the joint fisheries management and environmental protection.
In recent years, the number of diplomats and staff from the local population declined.
To fall in the office will only have 17 employees. Rafaelsen, who all his life fought for the expansion of cross-border contacts with Russia, don’t like what he’s watching:
“I dare say that Murmansk is of critical importance to Norway. It was here that Norway has a big problem in relations with the big neighbor. So it is important that Russia Norway were presented thoroughly. I hope the reason for what is happening lies in the lack of understanding, and that it may soon be correct. Norway is very interested in development cooperation, and the Consulate General in Murmansk plays a big role in this,” — emphasizes Rafaelsen.
Abolish visa service
The abolition of the visa Department of the more perplexing. Last year Norway issued through this Department 10 thousand visas.
The decision attracted so much attention by the local media that the acting Consul-General jørgen Holten jørgensen (Jørgen Holten Jørgensen) was forced to convene in Murmansk press conference.
“This issue has caused some alarm among the population and local media — about how now will be considered applications for visas, will the process take longer and will all now more than ever before,” said Jorgensen.
NRK: Is this due to the fact that Norway became a part of Russia is worse than before?
“No, I wouldn’t say that. It is rather connected with economic reasons, or optimization of resources. At lower cost we will be able to consider as much or more visa applications, focusing resources in Moscow,” said Jorgensen.