A great day

Published 19 September 2011 in:

Photo: Catarina Axelsson/MFA

 

Memorable moments – in the life of an Ambassador there are certainly several of them. But handing over your credentials to the Head of State is a major event of that kind. I did that today and it really became a day to remember.

A ceremony with dignity but conducted in a very relaxed and informal atmosphere in the Belweder palace.

The formal part takes just a few seconds. Handing over two letters from the King of Sweden to the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski.

But added to that is the opportunity to a short conversation with the President – obviously based on the excellent relations and close cooperation already existing, manifested not least during the Swedish State Visit in early May.

 We have so much in common.

The dark period when the Baltic Sea also meant a division between a communist regime here and democratic systems on the other side is luckily far behind us.

Now we are close partners. Within EU. And as neighbours in the Baltic Sea Region. During the State Visit a declaration on political cooperation between our countries in areas of strategic importance was signed and one of my key tasks will be to promote efficient implementation.

The Eastern Partnership – initiated by Poland and Sweden within the EU – is an excellent example of what we can do together. Promoting economic development and democracy in countries close to the Eastern border of the EU.

 That was a key task for me personally already when I was regional director for Eastern Europe within the Swedish development agency Sida 1995-2004. I was heavily engaged in the development cooperation with countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – following the Baltic states and Poland in our support programme.

I look forward to the Summit between EU and the Eastern partners coming up next week in Warsaw, one of the major events during the already impressive Polish EU Presidency.

The talk with the President was followed by a ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier, laying down a wreath from our Embassy.

Ceremony yes – but even more than that. A moment to remember how much of endless suffering that lies behind the freedom that the Polish people today can enjoy. So many lives lost.

Today we are two democratic nations working closely together in a league of Europan democracies, the EU. A dream that seemed unlikely just some decades ago. But a dream that came true.

Reflecting on this background I feel even more strongly – this was a great day.