(The spoken version shall take precedence)
A Uachtaráin and Ms. Higgins,
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me first, once again, express our sincere gratitude to you, President Higgins and Ms. Higgins. Thank you for your great hospitality and the warm Irish welcome we were met with yesterday.
Tonight, Her Majesty the Queen and I are very pleased to welcome you, together with a number of distinguished Irish and Swedish guests, in the splendid historic premises of the Trinity College.
Mr. President, today we have had a full day of evidence of the shared values and interests that we both emphasized yesterday.
Our countries have much in common – and, indeed, much to learn from each other.
150 years ago, Sweden and Ireland were countries of emigration. Since then, much has changed. Today, many people come to our countries, fleeing from war and despair. Her Majesty and I very much appreciated the literature seminar today, which we attended together with you, Mr. President and Ms. Higgins. It provided interesting insights and reflections on migration in Irish and Swedish literature.
Another key challenge that both our countries face is how to provide our citizens with high quality health care.
Both Ireland and Sweden have prominent knowledge and businesses in this area. This morning’s seminar on future health challenges allowed politicians, researchers and business representatives from our two countries to meet and exchange views, for example in the field of cancer care; a good basis for continued dialogue and collaboration in the health care sector. The active participation of your minister of health to the Dementia Forum X at the Royal Palace in Stockholm last week, Mr. President, was very much appreciated by the audience and by H M the Queen.
Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to see more of the Irish landscape. During our last visit, in 1992, we traveled southwest to Killarney and Valentia Island, which we very much impressed of. This time we are looking forward to discovering the dramatic and beautiful scenery of the west coast. And also to learn more about sustainable solutions in the agricultural, fishery and energy sectors.
We also look forward to an interesting seminar on digitalization at Ericsson Software Campus in Athlone. Communication technologies are advancing at a quick pace, and Ireland and Sweden are both “digital frontrunners”.
Mr. President, in your kind letter of invitation, you underlined how important it is that we retain our shared European values and further strengthen the bonds between our countries.
We fully share this view. And I am pleased that the very interesting and rewarding programme for this state visit clearly serves this purpose.
Mr. President, I have been heartened by the warm words you have spoken about Sweden, and about the contacts you have had with my country.
As you yourself eloquently expressed, in your New Year message to the Irish people in December: “Hospitality is a great universal and unifying value”.
On behalf of the Queen and myself, I wish to thank you once more for your hospitality. It is a great pleasure to visit your beautiful and welcoming Ireland.
And it is also a great pleasure for us to welcome you to this dinner.