Ambassador in Geneva Norbert Frick

Ambassador in Geneva
Norbert Frick

exclusiv in an interview
with Ambassador Norbert Frick
Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein
in Geneva

• 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 approach.

• 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 other events.

• 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.