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State visit to Italiy: Milan

Speech given by His Majesty The King at a business lunch in Milan during a state visit to Italy 6 - 8 April 2016.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for the Queen and myself to be in the Italian capital of trade and commerce.

Trading relations between Norway and Italy date back to 1432, when Pietro Querini ended up shipwrecked on the island of Røst, in Lofoten in Northern Norway. Querini described how the local population generously took care of him and his crew during the winter. He brought back to Italy what has become a popular product, stoccafisso. Together with salmon, it remains among our most successful exports to Italy.

Norwegian-Italian relations are excellent. Our countries have long traditions in the maritime field. Sometimes we cooperate, sometimes we compete. And sometimes we have discussions about which European discovered America first: Cristoforo Colombo or Leiv Eiriksson?  

The construction of the research vessel and icebreaker Kronprins Haakon is an eminent example of Norwegian-Italian cooperation. Built for the Norwegian Polar Institute, designed by Rolls Royce, and constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in La Spezia, she is filled with Norwegian cutting-edge technology. It will be completed at Vard Langsten shipyard in Norway, which is also owned by Fincantieri.

Norway and Italy enjoy high-level collaboration in several other fields, such as in maritime classification through Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd (DNV GL). The company started its activities in Italy in the early 1960s. Initially, DNV focused on maritime classification, oil and gas businesses. Since then, the Italian team has contributed to the company’s growth in its core sectors. It has played a key role in developing and scaling to a global level its certification and assurance business, with a particular attention on food and sustainability.

We develop control solutions for drilling and offshore construction vessels. This is done by Kongsberg Maritime and Saipem, and in cooperation between Rolls Royce Marine in Norway and the leading mega-yacht producer Azimut Benetti.   

This year, once again Norwegian furniture designers and manufacturers will display their work to a global audience at Salone del Mobile and at Fuori Salone in Ventura Lambrate. Norwegian entrepreneurs in our growing fashion industry are drawing on expertise from the Fashion & Luxury Knowledge Centre at the distinguished Bocconi University.

As we discussed earlier today, we share challenges in the energy sector. Given the success of our cooperation in other fields, we are convinced that joining forces to meet these energy challenges will result in more sustainable solutions and new business opportunities.

These are but a few of the many examples of successful collaboration between our countries. We must seek to expand further our cooperation in the future.

Let us now enjoy the taste of Norwegian seafood prepared according to the best Italian gastronomic traditions. I am certain this will provide a delicious example of the match between Norwegian raw materials and Italian finesse and craftsmanship.


Thank you.




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