‘Protecting companies in the big bad world – Should governments intervene?’
Before launching into debate with the panel, Richard Quest sat across from Finance Minister Siv Jensen and questioned her on the topics the audience were craving to hear about: Winter Olympics 2022, the national budget and even Norwegian salmon. While the national budget was clearly off the agenda for Siv Jensen, that didn't stop Richard Quest who quipped 'You're not allowed to talk about the budget, so let's talk about the budget.'
The interview laid the foundation for a jovial atmosphere, with Siv Jensen giving back as much as Richard Quest dished out, much to the entertainment of the audience. There being such stimulating topics on Norway, and its relationship with its government and the EU, Quest didn't shy away from encouraging participation from everyone present at the event.
Following the interview with Siv Jensen, Quest dived straight into discussion with the panel, consisting of Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian airline, Kenny Strandberg of Green Tech Marine (voted Best Entrepreneurial Business of 2014 by Innovation Norway) and Amir Sasson, associate professor at BI and the academic project manager for the project “A knowledge-based Norway”.
The debate's driving force, and Quest's opening question, was 'Is it important for Norway to show solidarity with the EU?'. Not one to beat around the bush, Quest demanded responses from each panel guest throughout the debate with a telltale point of the finger but not without, of course, addressing them as 'sir'.
This was Quest’s second visit to BI, following another debate last year on the tipping point of the EU. His dynamic and expressive manner always leads to exciting discussions and, as expected, he battled out the debate of Norway's position in the EU with as much vigour as all present hoped he would.
In the words of President Inge Jan Henjesand's closing speech: 'It was a great debate with a lot of energy.'