Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here in Warsaw today at this conference organised by the Swedish Embassy. One of the best things with Sweden is that we have such good neighbours. This makes it particularly nice to be here in Warsaw with you!
Let me draw up a somewhat dramatic background to this conference. In the beginning of the 1970's, decades of heavy industrialization had caused toxic water, polluted air, dead forests and wastelands in Sweden. On top of this, Sweden was a very oil-dependent country as we didn't have any oil resources of our own. The oil crises in 1973 and 1979 made us realise that we had to change this. We have been quite successful, if I may say so. Now we are more or less independent of foreign supplies of fossil fuels for the production of heat and electricity.
Another example is that since 1980, energy consumption has been more or less constant in Sweden, even though GDP has grown with almost 80 percent and the population by 10 percent.
For us, the transformation of our energy sector started as a wish to improve our energy security, to defend our freedom and our independence, by using our domestic resources and by saving energy.
With this strategy in mind, we have managed to find sustainable solutions that save the environment for our children and grandchildren and give them environmentally friendly, energy smart and attractive cities to live in, which is actually the topic of today's conference.
With these words I wish to open this conference. May it be a way for us to exchange know-how and expertise. I extend my wishes for a fruitful discussion here today and wish you the best of luck in your efforts!
Thank you for your attention.