Royal Palace, Stockholm
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a true pleasure for the Queen and me to welcome you to the Royal Palace in Stockholm.
Mr. President, in response to the warm hospitality you showed us during our State visit to Austria in 2007, we are happy and honoured that you had the possibility to come to Sweden on an official visit. By this we are also especially pleased to see you as our guests at the Birgit Nilsson price award ceremony later today.
The prize laureate this time is the famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. A prize winner which is much appreciated in our country. Every year the New Year’s concert of the Vienna Philharmonic is broadcasted on Swedish television with an indeed very large audience.
I think one could say that Vienna is the capital of classical music in Europe.
An interesting fact is that Birgit Nilsson performed together with the Orchestra for the first time already 60 years ago.
With this said, it is indeed a true pleasure to see the chairmen of both the Birgit Nilsson society and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra here at this luncheon.
Our countries have a long and solid relationship. Many Swedes visit your beautiful country every year, especially during wintertime. Also the Queen and I enjoy being in Austria and we have been skiing there several times over the years.
At the same time we are of course happy to see and welcome many visitors from Austria here in Sweden.
Also our business relations are excellent and the bilateral trade is expanding. Today, around 100 Swedish companies are present and active in Austria. That is why I have asked the top-level management of some major Swedish companies Volvo, Ericsson, SKF, SCA, and Sandvik – to join us at the luncheon here today.
Building on our historical and present excellent relations, it is my sincere wish that we will continue to develop our co-operation in all areas, bilaterally but not least as partners within the European Union.
Your visit here today is an excellent example and opportunity for this and let me therefore again emphasize how pleased the Queen and I are to welcome you to Sweden.
I would like to propose a toast to you, to Mrs Fischer as well as to the peoples of Austria and Sweden.