Thank you for your kind words of welcome and the warm hospitality with which we have been received. It is with great pleasure that today, the Crown Princess and I begin our official visit here in Chile. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to stretch our legs, after the long flight, in Chile’s outstandingly beautiful nature. We took a long trek in one of the ravines outside Santiago and had a wonderful afternoon.
Within a few decades, your country has become a role model in Latin America. Chile’s democratic development, political stability and economic growth calls for deep respect and recognition. Chile is a progressive and modern society and we are looking very much forward to meeting the Chilean people who are known for their kindness, openness and entrepreneurial spirit.
Our visit to Chile offers an opportunity to strengthen the excellent relations that exist between our two countries. Denmark and Chile are far apart geographically, but we have maintained friendly ties for a very long time – politically, commercially and culturally.
Our countries share many common values: We believe in freedom, democracy and human rights. We both agree on the importance of an open society, a strong economy and the need to ensure social cohesion. And I am also happy to note that we share many values in our approach to the global challenges facing the world today.
Accompanying us on this visit is the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Villy Søvndal and representatives of 55 Danish companies as well as a number of important Danish cultural institutions.
During the past few years trade and investment between Denmark and Chile has increased substantially. At present more than 30 Danish companies have branches in Chile and more are joining them.
This visit will provide a sound platform for the business delegation to establish many valuable contacts and have discussions with their Chilean counterparts. And I am convinced that increased trade and investment will be of great value for both of our countries.
In the cultural field, the many planned events will create closer relations between artists and cultural institutions from our two countries. The Crown Princess and I are delighted that the Chilean public will have the opportunity to experience some of Denmark’s rich culture.
I would like to raise my glass in a toast to a bright future for the bilateral relations between Chile and Denmark and to the health, happiness and prosperity of Chile and the Chilean people.