State Visit from Estonia
At 10:00 am this morning, the President of Estonia was formally received on the Palace Square. His Excellency President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is paying a State Visit to Norway at the invitation of His Majesty King Harald.
The visit began on the Palace Square this morning and will conclude with a gala banquet at the Royal Palace this evening, with a busy programme in between.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon accompanied the President to the Palace Square, where he was greeted by the King, the Queen and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Norwegian and Estonian flags festooned the Square, where the ceremony took place.
The King’s Guard military band played the national anthems of both countries, after which the President inspected the Guard, accompanied by King Harald. This was followed by official photographs in the Bird Room. Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner was also in attendance.
In keeping with tradition, the next stop on the programme was the wreath-laying ceremony. King Harald and Queen Sonja accompanied President Ilves to Akershus Fortress to lay a wreath at the national monument commemorating the Norwegians who lost their lives in the Second World War.
After the ceremony, the President was escorted to the Storting where he met with the President of the Storting, Olemic Thommessen. President Ilves also had a meeting with Prime Minister Erna Solberg, followed by a press conference.
This afternoon Toomas Hendrik Ilves will be the keynote speaker at the Europakonferansen, which will be held in the Gamle Festsal auditorium at the University of Oslo. This European conference is held in Norway each year to address pressing European issues.
Twenty-five years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the help of a peaceful Singing Revolution, Estonia gained its independence from the Soviet Union and has since become a member of both NATO and the European Union. The crisis in Ukraine shows that peaceful cooperation across national borders in Europe is not a given. The President’s lecture is entitled “25 Years After – Still Not Whole and Free”.
After his lecture, the President will meet with the Estonian business delegation whose members have been attending numerous meetings with their Norwegian counterparts today.
This evening, the King and Queen are hosting a gala banquet at the Royal Palace in honour of the President of Estonia. Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner will also be in attendance.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.