(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome you here in Stockholm for the European Development Days, hosted jointly by Sweden, currently holding the EU Presidency, and the European Commission!
This year's agenda is taking its starting point in the theme “Citizenship and Development." The focus of the coming days will be on the global financial crisis, democracy & human rights and climate change — all from the point of view of development and the effects on the developing world.
Furthermore, these are issues in which I take a great personal interest. They formed part of my university education, and I often encounter aspects in my daily work and travels.
The issues on the agenda are of great importance. They need to be highlighted and deliberated upon between States, International Organizations, NGO:s and indeed individual citizens. That is why I find it so rewarding that the EDD is open also to the general public.
Additionally, the participation of a large number of organizations in the Development Village, bring together ideas and projects from all parts of the world. This spreads knowledge and enables exchange of ideas and experiences. I am convinced it will also inspire new initiatives.
I have also noted the magnitude of parallel events all over the City of Stockholm, which have been ongoing for almost a week already.
This contributes further to highlight the important questions at hand, in the spirit of the conference theme “Citizenship and Development."
Hoping that you will have rewarding, inspiring and enjoyable days in Stockholm, I finally would like to wish you good luck in your important work.
I am pleased to officially declare the European Development Days 2009 open!