Wednesday, 26 September 2018

English Translation: King Carl Gustaf's Speech at State Opening of Parliament (2018)

Mr. Speaker,
Honorable Members of the Swedish Riksdag,

In the year 1810, the Riksdag elected Jean Baptiste Bernadotte as heir to the Swedish throne. Just one year earlier, Sweden had implemented a new instrument of government that was based on the principle of separation of powers.

That instrument gave us independent courts and administrative authorities. And the rights and freedoms of citizens were established. And the power of the Riksdag were enhanced.

It was in this new Sweden in 1818, that is two hundred years ago, that my forefather ascended the throne as King Karl XIV Johan.

One century later, in 1918, again the world and Sweden found themselves in the midst of change. On October 30, an extraordinary session of the Riksdag was open in the Hall of State in the Royal Palace in Stockholm. My grandfather, King Gustav V, spoke about "the just and lasting peace, which all suffering mankind was longing for."

The same year, in November, the combated nations laid down their arms. And in June of 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

The following year, the League of Nations was founded with Sweden as one of its members. This League was to be the predecessor of the United Nations, the UN, which is today one of several important forums for international collaboration.

At year-end, the Swedish term as two years non-permanent member on the UN Security Council will come to its end. This has been a valuable opportunity for our country to contribute to maintaining peace and security.

The end of World War I marked the beginning of a new era. The years following, Sweden's Riksdag made a number of crucial decisions. I am thinking, in particular, about reforms leading to universal and equal voting rights that provided the foundation for Swedish democracy, as we know it today.

Yes, a lot has changed in Sweden over the past centuries. The democratic system and the rules for it have continued to evolve.

And today, just like a hundred years ago, democracy is something that we must cherish and protect together. Not only on election day, but on every single day. And today, just like then, you, as elected representatives of the Swedish people, you have a particular responsibility to do so.

Honored Members of the Riksdag. Each and everyone of one has been given the responsibility by the people to represent them here in the Swedish Riksdag.

And everyone who lives in Sweden today, but also future generations; they are your employers.

They now all expect you to use your skills and experiences to work for what is best for Sweden and to ensure a good future for all who live here.

As a member of the Riksdag and to manage people's trust - it is not an easy job. But at the same time, it is one of the most important jobs there is.

It is also an exposed job. You will have to make hundreds of decisions. And some of them will be easy to make. Others will be more difficult and complicated.

You have the interests of the country in your hands. I wish you power, courage and wisdom to guide you in your important work.

And now I declare the 2018/2019 Riksdag session opened.

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