Your Royal Highnesses,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Balkenende,
I would like to thank you for your warm words and for your hospitality. It is a great honour for the Queen and me to be received in such a splendid way here at Binnenhof, the historic political heart of the Netherlands. It is indeed an impressive architectural monument.
Our two countries have very old and very close relations - particularly in the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, but also after the Second World War. Our contacts have intensified even further since Sweden became a member of the European Union. Sweden and the Netherlands are clearly likeminded on many important EU matters, something which will be of value during the Swedish EU Presidency during the second half of this year.
It is also true that our two countries traditionally pay attention to the rule of law in international relations, to human rights, to generous development assistance and to participation in international peace missions. You also give contribution to stability and security in Afghanistan.
The last few years it has also been clear that we want ambitious targets to fight global warming and climate change. The risk of the sea-water level rising is imminent and would seriously affect your country. We all have to act strongly together.
It has been a fruitful morning listening to the discussions between business representatives on how we can use green technology to increase our competitiveness and reduce unemployment in the present economic crisis.
Mr Prime Minister,
Let me conclude by assuring you that the Queen and I are delighted to be back in the Netherlands. We very much look forward to the rest of the interesting programme. I would like to propose a toast to Her Majesty, to Their Royal Highnesses, to you and to the health and well-being of the Dutch people.