Ambassador in Geneva
exclusiv in an interview
with Ambassador Norbert Frick
Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein
• Your Excellency, you have been
ambassador, permanent representative
of the Principality of Liechtenstein
at the United Nations and other
international organisations with
diplomatic seat in Geneva since 1998.
Your Excellency, what is your personal
upshot after eight years?
Geneva is the seat of the United Nations in Europe and also the
diplomatic seat of numerous UN special organisations and UN special
bodies in which Liechtenstein is also a member. But in terms of time,
the main focus of my activity does not lie in the UN realm, but in the
sphere of international trade regulations and agreements. The latter
concerns framework condi-tions for our economy.
Foreign trade is of vital importance for Liechtenstein. Our interest in
reliable international rules and in the continual improvement of access
opportunities on the international markets is correspond-ingly large.
The first priority for my small team is the safeguarding of
Liechtenstein interests in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and in
the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In the past years, we were
able to enter into a whole series of new free trade agreements within
the framework of the EFTA. Others are under negotiation.
The negotiations concerning the conclusion of a new world trade round
are afoot in the WTO. This also concerns the accommodation of specific
Liechtenstein interests. I think that with my team I have provided a
valuable contribution towards the maintenance and improvements of
economic framework conditions. Since this activity provides me with
great satisfaction and since I am also gladly in Geneva, I can
absolutely strike a positive balance for me personally.
• Your Excellency, according to your
personal assessment of the activity
as ambassador, in which fields were
you able to provide inspirations which
were accepted and implemented?
It lies in the nature of my activity or priorities that such
inspirations transpire in rather smaller dimensions. Forinstance, my
function as EFTA council chairman during the ensuing Liechten-stein
EFTA chairmanship periods absolutely called for providing impulses and
also for mediating behind the scenes and seeking solutions.
One example of a successful inspiration under our EFTA chairmanship was
the reorganisation of sequences pertaining to the EFTA minister
meetings. The implementation confirmed the sound-ness of the new
• Your Excellency, what does your time
management look like, or how can
the citizens of Liechtenstein envision
your daily agenda and the activity
of an ambassador?
I have to restrict myself to the core of my activity here. In a
multilateral environment such as in Geneva, negotiations in all
possible variations are a pivotal activity. Thus said, a considerable
portion of the time utilisation is in my case predetermined through
external meetings, which naturally have to be prepared and finished.
Moreover, I am also frequently underway abroad for EFTA negotiations.
On the whole, I am only in the mission about half of my time.
My activity calls for working through paper mountains as well as the
procurement and thorough study of information. In addition, it is
also important to establish and
foster relationships. Many
evenings are also utilised for this purpose: Receptions, dinners or
• What does the cooperation between
the Principality of Liechtenstein and
Your Excellency’s host country look like?
Where do the main emphases lie?
I am accredited with the international organisations in Geneva, not
with Switzerland. However, Switzerland as host country plays an
outstanding role in Geneva.
My contacts with the Swiss representa-tives and authorities are
manifold: Via the cooperation in factual issues – we often have similar
or the same interests, or in trade matters we are allied via the
customs agreement – and during the numerous invitations to the most
varying events through the Swiss or cantonal authorities.