Belgian Economic Mission to Norway: life sciences, energy transition and circular economy

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From 16 to 19 June, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing His Majesty the King, is leading an economic mission to the Kingdom of Norway. A broad economic and academic delegation will travel to Oslo to strengthen Belgium's image as an attractive partner and gateway to the European market.

Princess Astrid is accompanied by a ministerial delegation consisting of the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib, the Minister-President of Flanders and Flemish Minister of Foreign Policy, Culture, Digitisation and Facility Management, Jan Jambon, the Vice-President of the Government of Wallonia and Walloon Minister of Climate, Energy, Mobility and Infrastructure, Philippe Henry and the State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, in charge of Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations, Foreign Trade and Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Aid, Ans Persoons.

The programme in Oslo will include meetings with local companies ('B2B'), seminars and company visits to the main players in the Belgian economy present in Norway, as well as exchanges between Belgian and Norwegian academics looking to expand cooperation between research institutions. This economic mission focuses on three main themes : life sciences and biotechnology on Monday, energy and energy transition on Tuesday and circular economy (design & construction) on Wednesday. In addition, there will be several opportunities to highlight Belgian know-how and specialties during the mission.

Monday 17 June - biotech and life sciences

On Monday, HRH Princess Astrid and the official delegation opened the Belgium & Norway Life Sciences day at the Oslo Science Park. Norway is striving to diversify its economy and is looking to Belgian know-how to build up Norway's biopharma sector. This will be modeled on the Belgian Biotech Valley, an innovative ecosystem that brings together R&D, production and distribution in a full value chain. The Oslo Science Park pools academic and scientific knowledge, investors and specialised companies and serves as an incubator for the Norwegian biotech sector. The morning session ended with a business power lunch, jointly organised by the Federation of Belgian Enterprises and its Norwegian counterpart, the Federation of Norwegian Enterprises.

In the afternoon, Princess Astrid and the official delegation attended a showcase of Belgium's leadership in equestrian sports at the Gullik Stables. Norwegian champions come to Belgium where they find the world's best horses and training, as well as a full logistics chain including horse transport, quality feed, track construction, equipment for jumpings and specialised law firms. Norwegian rider Emma Tallulah Behn, granddaughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, rode a Belgian horse during a jumping demonstration in the presence of Princess Astrid and the official delegation. Princess Astrid, accompanied by Minister Lahbib and Minister-President Jambon, was subsequently hosted at the Royal Palace for afternoon tea with Crown Prince Haakon.

In the evening, two activities were scheduled: first, a tasting of desserts made from Belgian strawberries, a delicacy popular in Norway, followed by an event on circular economy in the design sector. Artists and interior designers from Norway and Belgium interacted with each other and with gallery owners through creations based on recycled materials.

Tuesday, June 18 - energy transition

The day starts with the Belgian-Norwegian Energy Summit, attended by HRH Princess Astrid, the official delegation, Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Aasland and Belgian Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten. The summit, which aims at fostering cooperation between the two countries to meet the common challenges of the energy transition, has a dual purpose. On the one hand, decarbonisation of Belgian industry through carbon capture in Belgium, transport to and storage (CCUS) in Norway. A bilateral CCUS declaration will be presented on Wednesday morning, in the presence of Belgian North Sea Minister Paul Van Tigchelt. On the other hand, Belgium is committed to interconnecting the Norwegian and Belgian energy grids at Princess Elisabeth Island in the North Sea, a model of which will be presented. This builds on the 2023 North Sea Summit in Ostend, where nine countries decided to work together to tap the North Sea's green energy potential. Norway is looking to Belgian expertise to realise its offshore wind energy ambitions - an additional capacity of up to 30 Gigawatts by 2040.

In the afternoon, Princess Astrid and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib will take part in a round table discussion on business and human rights at the Nobel Peace Centre. The debate will focus on the implementation of the United Nations Global Compact, which invites companies to commit themselves voluntarily to promoting human rights, social justice and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Norway is leading the way, with 400 companies involved and sectoral initiatives such as Business for Peace (BfP), which promotes business worthy leadership. Next, the official delegation led by Princess Astrid will attend the ICONS summit, which promotes inclusive e-learning on a global scale through D-teach. This project is part of the European Commission's education hub, and the summit will focus on the integration of AI into online education.

During the day, Princess Astrid and the official delegation have an official meeting at the Government Pension Fund Global. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib also has a bilateral meeting with her Norwegian counterpart, Espen Barth Eide.

Wednesday 19 June - circular economy

The third and final day of the Belgian Economic Mission starts with economic success stories, the sealing of the Joint CCUS Declaration (Energy Summit Tuesday) and a ceremony for the economic agreements concluded as part of the Economic Mission.

The programme then focuses on the third priority of this mission : circular economy. A workshop will provide solutions for rendering the construction sector more sustainable through innovation and regeneration. This starts from the design phase, where regenerative construction is key, all the way to the use of innovative and circular building materials. Princess Astrid and the official delegation, in the presence of Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Andreas Bjelland Friksen and Oslo Mayor Anne Lindboe, will attend the Icebox Challenge, demonstrating the energy benefits of regenerative construction.

An invest lunch organised by the three regional Trade Agencies - FIT, AWEX and hub.brussels concludes the official programme of the Belgian economic mission to Norway.

The full program and all useful information on the Belgian Economic Mission to Norway are available on the following website: https://www.belgianeconomicmission.be

 

Follow the Belgian Economic Mission to Norway on our social media channels: #BEmissionNOR

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