Royal representation in Davos

Norway will be royally represented, both literally and figuratively, at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that started this week and lasts through Sunday. Crown Princess Mette-Marit will be joining her husband this year at the high-power gathering of international movers and shakers.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon will both be back in Davos this year. PHOTO: Kongehuset.no

Crown Prince Haakon has been attending the World Economic Forum for several years, along with top politicians and business executives. He’s heading back again this year, along with Mette-Marit and a who’s who of Norway’s government and business elite.

Trade Minister Trond Giske will be there, along with Oil & Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe, new Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide and Erik Solheim, the government minister in charge of foreign aid and environmental issues.

Rune Bjerke, chief executive of Norway’s biggest bank, DNB, was on the list of Norwegian participants as was investor and entrepreneur Stein Erik Hagen, chairman of industrial firm Orkla, fellow investor and tobacco heir Johan H Andresen and Svein Richard Brandtzæg, chief executive of industrial firm Norsk Hydro.

One of the directors of the World Economic Forum is also a Norwegian, Børge Brende, a former top politician with the Conservative Party and former secretary general of the Norwegian Red Cross. He told newspaper Aftenposten that the acute debt crisis in Europe will likely dominate conversation in Davos this week.

All told, around 2,600 people from all over the world will gather for the forum, and Brende says forum leaders have already heard that many are disappointed the debt crisis is taking so long to resolve.

“It’s critical that (European leaders) agree on a solution,” Brende told Aftenposten. “We have to rebuild confidence in the euro zone.” Citing a need for millions of new jobs over the next decade, Brende worried that “we instead see tendencies towards nationalism, trade obstacles and populistic solutions.” Debate in and outside the seminar rooms was expected to be lively.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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