(Det talade ordet gäller)
Madam President of the Senate,
Mister Ambassador and Mrs Brifalk,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For Prince Daniel and myself, this is our first visit abroad with a Swedish trade delegation since the outbreak of the pandemic. We are delighted to visit the beautiful cities of Rome and Turin, and we would like to thank the ambassador and his wife for receiving us so generously at the official residence this evening.
Let me also say how pleased I am to have with us this evening Professor Giorgi Parisi, of the Sapienza University here in Rome. He was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in physics 2021 for his ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems. Professor Parisi: my warmest congratulations to you and your team.
Prince Daniel and I have warm memories from President Mattarella’s state visit to Sweden in 2018, and from our most recent official visit to Italy five years ago.
Italy is important to Sweden. Our nations enjoy close, positive cooperation, both bilaterally and within the EU.
Italy is also the EU’s third largest economy and Europe’s second biggest industrial nation, making it an important market for Swedish businesses.
We think of Italy as a country with a strong tradition of innovation, design and engineering. In all these areas, there are close links between companies and universities in both our countries; links that we are keen to confirm and develop.
When the coronavirus first struck, Europe’s eyes turned to Italy. Many of the early tough lessons were learnt here.
Thanks to enormous efforts to fight the pandemic and to vaccinate the population, the country is now in a completely different and better situation, and it is gratifying to see the soaring sense of optimism for the future.
The national mood has no doubt been lifted further by glorious victories in the European Football Championship and the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as gold medals in the Olympic and Paralympic Games!
Many large Swedish companies have long had a presence in Italy, and do excellent work here. They are now being joined by innovative new businesses in various industries, not least within areas such as digitalisation, e-mobility and renewable energy. Many of you are represented here this evening, and you all play important roles in the green transition and the digitalisation of industry and society as a whole.
I am convinced that Swedish businesses can contribute towards achieving greater sustainability – environmentally, socially and economically. I also know how important you are when it comes to conveying a positive image of Sweden.
When you defend quality, sustainability and a long-term approach – when you show, via your actions, that Sweden can be relied on – then this benefits not only your own operations, but also the whole of Swedish industry – and ultimately our country.
Ladies and gentlemen, Prince Daniel and I very much look forward to our visit during the coming days, and to further strengthening the excellent cooperation between Sweden and Italy.