The Gala Dinner hosted by H.E. The President of Poland and Mrs. Komorowska, Warsaw, 12 May 2014
President Komorowski, Distinguished Ministers, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for the Crown Princess and me to join you tonight. Let me start by thanking you Mr. President Komorowski and Mrs. Komorowska for hosting us and for the very warm welcome with which we have been received here in Poland.
We have already spent an exciting day in Warsaw and have participated in several events that highlight the strong relationship between Poland and Denmark. Today has been a good start to a rich program of events that will stretch over the coming days in Warsaw and Szczecin.
Allow me a moment to reflect on a few important historic points that illustrate the long and peaceful relationship between our two countries:
- The first records of Polish-Danish relations date back to the first Polish King Mieszko, who in 996 gave his daughter to the Danish King Svend Forkbeard.
- In the 14th century the Danish King Erik Menved concluded an alliance with the Polish King Wladyslaw against the rising German power. Later King Wladylsaw’s son Casimir hosted the Danish King Valdemar Atterdag in Krakow, not only once but twice.
- And in 1658 more than 6,000 Polish soldiers came to rescue Denmark against Swedish troops leading to the liberation of Als and Koldinghus – the former seats of Danish Kings.
We are well aware of the long struggle for freedom and independence in Poland. Our visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum today gave a horrifying insight into what the Polish people have gone through.
You will soon celebrate the 25th anniversary of Poland’s democratic transformation. In the years prior to this, Danish radio amateurs – I was told – were sending balloons across the Baltic Sea carrying manuals on how to build radios to receive illegal broadcasts. From a neighbouring country, it was a small gesture compared to the Polish sacrifices, but a true sign of our support and sympathy for Poland.
Over the last 25 years, cooperation between Denmark and Poland has expanded greatly. Denmark worked actively for NATO and EU enlargement, and developed bilateral instruments to rebuild societies in Eastern Europe. In the political realm today we work together to secure Europe as a free, stable and economically prosperous region.
Commercially, Polish and Danish companies cross borders to forge new business relations.
Culturally, we convene around modern art, architecture, design as well as classical and jazz music. We will have the chance to experience this at the concert tomorrow evening.
This official visit provides an opportunity to further strengthen the excellent relations that have always existed between our countries and people. As mentioned, Denmark and Poland have a long history of political, cultural and economic cooperation, dating back to the foundation of our nations. However, I am happy to note that our partnership is even closer today.
During the next two days, business cooperation between Denmark and Poland will be in focus. Trade and investment between our countries have increased substantially over the last decade making Poland the 10th biggest export market for Denmark. And the Danish exports to Poland are expected to double by 2020.
A large number of Danish companies are already based in Poland and the numbers are increasing. Polish exports to Denmark are also growing steadily, making our commercial ties mutually beneficial.
Accompanying us on this visit is the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen, who is present here tonight. And tomorrow the Minister for Health and the Minister for Environment will be joining the delegation. They are all representing sectors in which Denmark has strong competences and with good prospects for cooperation between our countries.
The Crown Princess and I are heading a business delegation of more than 60 Danish companies and their organisations. The companies cover a broad range of sectors. Common for all of them is their technological know-how and high level of expertise.
Denmark has a lot to offer when it comes to innovation, hightech solutions and efficient use of resources. I am certain that this will be evident for our Polish partners during the coming days.
It is my hope that our visit will provide the business delegation with valuable contacts and agreeable discussions with our Polish counterparts. I am convinced that increased trade and investment will be of great value to both our countries.
With these words let me propose a toast to even stronger ties and the creation of new prosperous ones between Denmark and Poland.