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State visit from Moldova: His Majesty The King´s speech

Speech given by His Majesty King Harald during the gala dinner at Oslo Royal Palace in honour of the state visit from Moldova 6 May 2024.

President Maia Sandu,



Distinguished guests,

Bună seara, Madam President –

It is a great pleasure for the Queen and I to welcome you to Norway. This is a historic occasion – the first ever state visit by a Moldovan president to Norway. We hope your visit will lay the foundation for close and friendly relations between our two peoples.

Cooperation between our countries has developed significantly during the last few years. There is a bleak backdrop to this, but your visit is a testament to the Norwegian people’s support for and solidarity with Moldova and the Moldovan people.

There are in fact quite a few similarities between our two countries. We are both relatively small. We have both been ruled by our neighbours. We are both relatively young independent nations, but have rich national histories.

And, perhaps most importantly, we share fundamental values – a belief in democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

While our paths may not have crossed many times in the past, there is a remarkable old bond between our two countries:

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations across 10 countries, stretching from Hammerfest in North Norway to Rudi in Moldova and on to the Black Sea. 

This line of station points, many of which are now protected by UNESCO, was surveyed between 1816 and 1855 by astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve.

It was the first accurate demarcation of a large segment of a meridian, and it helped to establish the size and shape of the planet.

The arc is an extraordinary example of scientific collaboration and serves as a symbol of the importance of peaceful connections between countries.

As many will already know, Moldova has a rich history of weaving beautiful carpets. This craftsmanship has been recognised by the international community and the UN. Moldovan carpets are expressions of creativity and identity – as well as a tool for bringing together social groups of different ages and backgrounds.

The same could be said about Norwegian weaving traditions.

Or – so I’ve been told.

Weaving is a bit a bit outside my comfort zone – but if you introduce the topic to the Crown Princess, she won’t stop.

Both she and the Queen are passionate about traditional handicrafts.

Last but not least, I would like to mention the vineyards of Moldova, the pride of your country. I am glad that we can count some of your finest wine producers among our guests this evening.

Madam President, alongside the peaceful cultural links binding us together, we are united today in confronting issues of the utmost gravity.

Well – this is true of the whole of Europe, and other regions as well.

You have shown remarkable leadership in the difficult period since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. I admire the way your country has taken in so many people fleeing neighbouring Ukraine.

Moldova has Norway’s full support in dealing with the many crises your country is facing – related for example to security, energy, and refugees. In some of these areas, such as the fight against disinformation, we have a lot to learn from you.

Our steadfast commitment to supporting Moldova is reflected in the multi-year Nansen Support Programme for Ukraine. This programme is backed by all the parties in the Norwegian parliament, and Moldova is the only country other than Ukraine that is mentioned specifically as a recipient of civilian support.

Under your leadership, Moldova has taken decisive steps along the path of European integration and in implementing the required democratic reforms. We welcome and support Moldova’s progress towards EU integration and membership.

Madam President, you spoke of hope in your New Year’s Eve speech, saying: “But in the most difficult times, hope kept us together.” And you continued: “This hope is not founded on blind faith in miracles, but rather on our shared conviction that we possess the ability, within our grasp, to bring about change. Hope materialises only when accompanied by the resolve to transform circumstances.”

In times like these, we need strong bonds of friendship and understanding, a rich tapestry of collaboration, and a common hope for a more peaceful world.

I invite you all to join me in a toast to Madam President Maia Sandu, to the people of Moldova, and to the friendship between our nations. Skål!


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