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New President of ESA: Per Sanderud

After several years in different ministries Per Sanderud has left the Norwegian governmental buildings and taken over the presidential chair of EFTA Surveillance Authority, ESA. That’s not a chair one enters to become the most popular man in Norway, he says.

12/09/2007 :: Sanderud has many years of experience from leading roles in four different ministries. From developing and formulating the politics, he is now going to supervise it, in a College of three Members: Kurt Jaeger from Liechtenstein and Kritján Andri Stéfansson, in addition to him.

– One of the main challenges facing ESA is sufficient access to the Commission on a level which allows us to discuss the cases properly, he says. – The executive officers don’t necessarily have the same opinions as for instance the commissioners, who are often very busy. Energy and environmental issues are areas we need to focus on – and a good dialogue with Norway is important.

The new President underlines that the development of the European Union was not possible to foresee when the EEA agreement was signed 13 years ago; the agreement has to change in accord with the changes in the EU.

– ESA has to make sure the EEA EFTA member states keep up. I want a continuous dialogue and guidance so we can find solutions at an early stage.

– I will probably be getting some calls from Norway, but I have to be loyal to ESA and its tasks. You have to make sure not to be too orientated towards your homeland, which will be difficult at times, but it is all about different roles. Being President here is not something I do to become popular in Norway, he adds.

ESA is situated in Rue Belliard, not far from the EU quarter and the EFTA Secretariat. The College is assisted by four organizational units, and Per Sanderud will be in charge of Legal and Executive Affairs, as well as government subsidies.

– What I have been doing before has always been related to trade, so the change won’t be that dramatic, says the new President of ESA. – But I have a great deal to learn even though the issues are familiar. And the purpose of coming here was to do something different. I have been very well taken care of so far and, furthermore, ESA is very well organised, so I am pleased.

Sanderud took over after Bjørn Grydeland August 20 and will be sitting until December 31, 2009.

The new President’s has his education from economy, and he has also been studying Spanish due to interest for Indian cultures.

– I don’t speak too well French, but I will be taking classes here, Sanderud says.

He has, in addition to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, been working in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. But Per Sanderud isn’t a rookie in Brussels either. Working with transition of state companies like Telenor and NSB, he was here a lot.

– Moving here, feels a bit like being a student again. I live in a bed-sit and all, but obviously I’m better off now, he says. – Also, I work out a lot – there’s a lot of excellent food here.

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Per Sanderud’s last employer was the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry. He is now the President of ESA.Photo: regjeringen.no.

Sanderud wants a close dialogue with the three EEA EFTA member states Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.