We received at our editorial office

Regarding the article headlined ‘EU Ambassadors visit the Emergency Transit Center in Timisoara’ published by Nine O’Clock in its Monday edition on page 4, the editorial team informs that the text is a press release that came directly from the UNHCR under this very title. We stress this as we have received from H.E. Øystein HOVDKINN, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Bucharest, the following letter:

Dear Nine o’clock team,

The Nine o’clock newspaper is held in high esteem among the staff of the Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest. We admire your concise presentation of the most important daily news, the ability to highlight the essential details, the good balance between the political, economical and cultural events as well as sport. Each issue of the newspaper enjoys our full attention and sometimes the articles are commented among us.

In today’s (14/3) issue there is , however, an article where you have got an important detail wrong – seen from a Norwegian perspective. Last week I took part in a visit – extremely well organized by the UNHCR office in Bucharest – to the Emergency Transit Center in Timisoara together with a group of EU ambassadors. I am happy to see that you considered this information as of interest and decided to publish an article on the visit. Regrettably – again from a Norwegian point of view – the article was published under the heading “EU Ambassadors visit the Emergency Transit Center in Timisoara”.
I would like to point out that Norway is not a member of the European Union. Twice Norway has held a referendum on the issue of EU membership, first in 1972 and then again in 1994, where a majority of the Norwegian population rejected membership. We are aware of the fact that we are one of very few Western European countries not to be a member of the EU and that is probably the main reason for frequent confusion even among high ranking Romanian officials. It may add to the confusion that Norway through the European Area Agreement is a fully integrated partner in the EU Internal Market and also a member of Schengen. It may further add to the confusion that Norway pro capita provides more financial assistance to the EU members in Central and Eastern Europe than most EU states. As a matter of fact Norway is Romania’s largest bilateral donor country.

Be that as it may: Norway is not a member state of the European Union and this is where it went slightly wrong when you put the heading to the article in question.

Øystein Hovdkinn

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway

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