Svalbard’s important. A more diverse range of steady jobs is important. Taking advantage of the unique nature of the area is important. Support – not always meaning money – from the government is important.
Those familiar messages were emphasized repeated by new Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen during his first two days visiting Longyearbyen in that role on Monday and Tuesday. As with many other meetings between top government officials and locals during the past few years to ponder the town’s post-coal economic future plenty of platitudes and possibilities were discussed, although there was little in the way of concrete commitment or Isaksen returning to Oslo with new insight that might alter a new strategic plan for Svalbard scheduled to be finalized this year.