Speech given by King Carl Gustaf, 12th September 2017
Honorary members of the Swedish Parliament.
"Public power must be exercised with respect for the equal value of all people and for the freedom and dignity of the individual." [Quoting Sweden's Consitution, 2010 revision]
So it is in the form of government; the basis describing how Sweden should be governed.
Our country has over ten million inhabitants; with varying backgrounds and experiences, and different dreams of the future. About one-fifths are children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Almost as many have been born in another country and immigrated here, as children or as adults.
All of these individuals together form Sweden. It is them who you represent in the Riksdag's chamber [Parliment]. You are the foremost representatives of the people
It is a big task with a lot of responsibility. It requires courage and integrity. And it requires a goodwill to find constructive ways forward.
Mr Speaker, honorable Members of Parliament. Every era has its critical issues.
A hundred years ago, 1917, Europe was at war. Our country escaped the war, yet suffered a severe shortage of food and supplies. The following year, Spanish Flu [1918 influenza pandemic] came to Sweden. Thousands of Swedes, mostly young adults, were killed. Fifty years ago, at the end of the 1960s, the cold war was in full swing.
Today, we face new challenges - new threats to peace, security, welfare, health and the environment.
For example, a lot of us are concerned about the recent escalation of geopolitical tensions. Sweden's seat in the UN Security Council is an important opportunity for our country to contribute to peaceful solutions to world conflicts.
The challenges of our time are significant. There is no doubt about this. But it may be worth recalling that history gives reason for some optimism:
Peace has been exchanged.
Epidemics have been cured.
Prosperity has grown.
Human rights have been strengthened.
And as developments go forward, we are also approaching solutions to several of our crucial issues. Not least in the area of the environment. The question is no longer whether we can achieve a more sustainable development. But how we should go forward. How quickly, with the technology and at what cost. Against this background, there is every reason to view the future with confidence!
I began by quoting from our constitution. A keyword in that quote is "respect". It is also a good starting point for public discussion. Treating each other with respect, even when we think differently.
With these words I wish you all - elected representative of the Swedish people - power, courage and wisdom. This is because you will bring our nation forward to a development that is beneficial to everyone in Sweden.
Yes, to help everyone realize their various dreams.
I declare the 2017/2018 session of Parliament open.
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