HM The King's speech on Sweden's National Day 2010
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Mr Prime Minister,
Celebrators of Sweden's National Day,
It feels like any other ordinary early summer, don't you agree? The days are growing longer. The scent of bird cherry, lilac and lily of the valley is in the air. At Stenhammar, our farm in Sörmland, the calves – full of life – have been turned out to summer pasture. School children are dreaming of the summer holidays. We are happy for the young people who are venturing out into their lives. Today, Sweden´s National Day, flags are flying proudly in the wind.
And yet, the summer that is approaching is not quite like any other ordinary summer.
In August, it will be 200 years since the Riksdag in Örebro elected one of Napoleon's marshals, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, as Sweden's Crown Prince and successor to the throne. In October the same year, he disembarked in Helsingborg. In 1818 he was crowned King of Sweden, under the name of Karl XIV Johan.
With a great sense of duty, he took over responsibility for our country. He set the foreign policy course that has secured peace for Sweden that has lasted until the present day. Through far-sighted measures, he also lay the foundation for economic progress and prosperity.
This summer will witness another very important event in the history of the Bernadotte dynasty. Our older daughter is getting married. Just a quick look at her and her fiancé is enough to understand that they appear very pleased and happy about this decision. As parents, the Queen and I feel overwhelming joy and warmth at this time.
But, it is also Sweden's successor to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria, who is to enter into marriage with Mr Daniel Westling. Adapted to a new era, the tradition established in Örebro 200 years ago is being continued.
I very much hope that all of us, not only in our professional roles but also in our daily actions, can demonstrate the same kind of responsibility as Karl XIV Johan.
Sweden is a country that is active and committed in various forms of international cooperation – as a donor, peacekeeper, as a driving force and actor on environmental issues; it is a country that safeguards and fights for free trade – and that regards the exchange and flow of people, goods, capital and ideas between nations and continents as something very positive. We are proud to see that our beautiful city of Stockholm has been named European Green Capital 2010.
As holder of the Presidency, Sweden successfully led the European Union for the second half of last year.
Swedish men and women are risking their own lives to promote peace, development and stability in Afghanistan and protect humanitarian transport off the coast of Somalia.
The earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now most recently Guatemala, the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland and the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf remind us of our vulnerability to the forces of nature. It is only through increased international cooperation and the sharing of responsibility that we will be able to manage these serious problems.
The economic crisis that has shaken the world also requires responsible action from governments, enterprises and employees. Sweden has coped reasonably well, but we live in a global context and our economy cannot be isolated from developments in the rest of the world.
When the urgent threats have been cleared, long-term sustainable growth and balance must be secured. At the same time, the safety net must catch those who end up on the outside and give them a chance to come back.
Innovations, technological development, entrepreneurship and new businesses are important factors for progress. 'Spirit of innovation' is also the theme of the Swedish Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, which I recently visited. Here, it is clearly evident that quality, sustainable development and new environmental technologies – in other words, everything that Swedish enterprises stand for – arouses great international interest.
Our great sportsmen and sportswomen at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver – Charlotte Kalla, Björn Ferry, Marcus Hellner, Anja Pärson to name just a few – have also helped to strengthen Sweden as a brand around the world. They also inspire the broad popular sports movement in our country.
Here at home, in our daily lives, we also have a major responsibility to involve everyone – and I emphasize everyone – who lives in Sweden in building our society.
I would like us today to give a thought to all those people of all ages who are involved in our associations, organizations, clubs and societies – quite simply, those who are engaged in the non-profit sector. Sport, culture, the scouts, local and religious communities, nature and environmental organizations, to give a few examples. Parents and adults who volunteer as leaders and instructors. Pensioners and children, young people and adults.
We have a tolerant, open and inclusive society. Cultural and religious diversity is a strength that offers Sweden unique opportunities. One example is being an active partner in the globalization process. Just think how Swedes with a background in another country can help us build new networks, give us new cultural impulses and open new markets.
Early summer is blooming around us. There is an air of expectation.
Let us all – young and old alike – promise ourselves to, as often as possible this summer, enjoy the moment. Perhaps disconnect for a while from Twitter, blogs, mobile phones, cable TV and computer games. Listen to the water lapping up against the dock, pull up a pike on a fishing line, pick some berries or mushrooms, meditate at sunset – there are many ways.
I hope that all of you will find your very own ways of making the most of your summer. Our beautiful Sweden has many fine old traditions, but it is also a progressive and modern country.
I ask you all to join me in a cheer for Sweden, our beloved country:
Long live Sweden!