(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I was only fourteen years old when my parents paid their first state visit to Estonia. It was in April 1992, only a few months after the reclaimed independence. My mother had developed a habit of telling us children about each foreign trip she and my father made and I remember how touched they were after being received so warmly in Tallinn and Tartu. The Estonians had opened their arms, and their hope and optimism made a great impression on my parents.
There is something very special in the relationship between Estonia and Sweden. The Baltic Sea has always connected and united our two countries and our people. Both Estonia and Sweden depend on it as a bridge of peace to facilitate trade, tourism and cultural exchange.
It is a great pleasure for Prince Daniel and myself to attend the Swedish Business Award Ceremony today. Trade means cooperation, partnership and trust. During the past 20 years trade between our two countries has developed quickly. There are as many as 1700 examples of how Swedish business has found interesting possibilities for trade and investment in Estonia.
Likewise a large number of Estonian companies have reached new customers in Sweden. Estonia has taken the lead when it comes to e-solutions and e-governance. Joint Swedish – Estonian ideas and know-how conquered the world when Skype developed into a global success story.
There are no doubt a large number of new ideas that are waiting to be explored and developed into business. In areas such as energy, health care, life science, gaming and even space technology and tourism we see potential business possibilities.
I am sure that today’s seminar and ceremony will give us good examples of what we can expect of future Estonian – Swedish business relations. There is no lack of ideas or entrepreneurship.
Not even the sky is the limit!