here - Norway - the official site in Romania
here - Norway - the official site in Romania
N INE ’CLOCK SUPPLEMENTS Syttende Mai: Hipp Hurra for Norge! Hipp Hurra for Norge! Today is Syttende Mai, Norway's Constitution Day. On the 17th May 1814 Norway's Constitution was signed, marking the country's birth as an independent nation. To this day Norway lays claim to the world's second oldest constitution in continual force, and every year the 17th May is proudly celebrated across the country. The Norwegian Parliament, known as Storting, held the first May 17 celebrations in 1836. From that point onwards, it was regarded as the National Day. From 1906 onwards, the Norwegian Royal Family has gathered on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway’s capital city, to wave to the marching children on Constitution Day each year. The first children's parade was held in 1870. Constitution Day celebrations follow a traditional Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu: Romania and the Kingdom of Norway enjoy special relations based on a close political dialogue both as NATO allies and partners within the EEA On the occasion of the celebration of the National Day of the Kingdom of Norway, I have the great pleasure of conveying to our Norwegian partners and friends our warmest congratulations and wishes of success and prosperity. Romania and the Kingdom of Norway enjoy special relations, strengthened by a significant multi-level collaboration and based on tight economic cooperation and a close political dialogue, both as NATO allies, and partners within the European Economic Area. The month of May has a special significance for Romanian-Norwegian bilateral relations, as it represents the anniversary month of the establishment of diplomatic relations. continued on page 7 pattern of joyous and enthousiastic parades involving schools, high school graduates, bands, and other members and organizations within the local community. There are many games, activities and social gatherings on this day. Many Norwegians and people with Norwegian ancestry also celebrate the day in different countries around the world. continued on page 7 H.E. Tove Bruvik Westberg Ambassador of Norway to Romania: Norway celebrates Constitution Day, further enhancing bilateral relations with Romania Last year Norway celebrated the bicentenary of its constitution, which was adopted on 17 May 1814. At the start of 1814 Norway was part of the absolute monarchy DenmarkNorway. By the end of the year Norway had entered into a union with Sweden. In between, Norwegians had mobilized and drawn up one of the world’s most democratic constitutions - and elected their own king. 1814 was hailed as ‘the year of miracles’. Sovereignty of the people, the separation of powers, the independence of the political institutions and the rights of the individual were to be basis for the nation. Last year a large number of events, both in Norway and abroad, debated the value of this historic and yet very much alive document and what it means for a democratic society. Also here in Romania. continued on page 7 NINE O’CLOCK • THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015 PAGE SPECIAL Norway celebrates Constitution Day, further enhancing bilateral relations with Romania continued from page 6 With the constitution of 1814, a new era was in the making. It laid the foundation for the birth of modern Norway. Moreover, it gave the direction for the years to come. This is what we celebrate. However, every 17 May gives us another possibility and an obligation to reflect and to discuss. About what kind of society do we want, which values do we cherish, and how do we protect them? It took many years before all citizens had the same rights to participate fully in democratic institutions in Norway. However, throughout the years the direction has been clear, but also given Norway new tasks, to include a more multicultural and diverse population. Another celebration has taken place in many countries this year. On 8 May we celebrated 70 years since the end of World War two in Europe. Norway and other occupied countries became free again. Norway had been under Nazi occupation for five long years. The occupation of Norway and many other European countries was indeed a struggle about the populations’ minds and attitudes. A fascist dictatorship against freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination. In Norway symbolized by Hitler’s local governor, Josef Terboven, setting up his administration in the very Parliament building in Oslo. Dictatorship replaced democracy. The struggle in 1814 for the right to our own constitution and the resistance against a foreign power and the fascist dictatorship during the years of 1940-1945 have elements in common: Individuals knowing their rights and their values. Fighting for these values and fighting for the common rights. There shall be freedom of expression. There shall be free and fair elections. The citizens of the country make the laws and they shall live by the law. Everybody is equal to the law. There shall be an equal balance and independence between the state institutions. The powers of the state shall be controlled. Those who govern shall be accountable. Yes, each year we do remind ourselves about these principles. They are utterly important. Not only does 17 May matter, equally important is what takes place between each years’ festivities. On 1 June this year, a government committee will present an extensive work documenting injustice towards the Roma population in Norway, from the end of the 19th century and until today. Head of the committee is Knut Vollebæk, former foreign minister of Norway and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Besides documenting the history, the committee is mandated to suggest how further reconciliation and justice can take place between minorities and the greater society. It is hard work to build a democra- cy with a high degree of equality. It implies a willingness to acknowledge that we are all the same, independent of ethnic origin, color, family background or wealth. It implies willingness to share the resources. It implies willingness to pay ones taxes to finance what is takes to build the common good. It implies willingness to acknowledge the past and to have visions for the future. Yet, it is a solid basis for a stable and well-functioning nation. The values we try to live by are also the values on which we build our bilateral relations with other countries. Norway has, through the EEA agreement, close economic relations with Europe, including Romania. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, our two countries work together to reduce social inequality in Romania, and further strengthen the bilateral relations. In almost all areas of society – from justice, green industry innovation, environment, research, civil society, health and culture – institutions and individuals in both countries are working together. Results are achieved, the mutual knowledge and respect strengthened, and bilateral relations deepened. In addition comes Norwegian private businesses investing in and cooperating with Romania. On this day of celebration I would like express my sincere appreciation to all those who contribute to the strengthening of our bilateral relations. 7 Syttende Mai: Hipp Hurra for Norge! continued from page 6 Syttende Mai is typically characterised by huge colourful street parades of marching school bands and lots and lots of flag waving. A common greeting heard on the streets is "gratulerer med dagen", or "happy birthday." Oslo is obviously home to the largest parades, and every year over a hundred schools walk down the capital's famous Karl Johans Gate and past the Royal Palace, where the Royal Family waves to the crowds from the balcony. Marching bands play and some 60 000 children from more than 100 schools sing patriotic lyrics. The highlight of the march is when children pass the Royal Palace and exchange waves and greetings with the Royal Family. Syttende Mai is also a special occasions for Norwegians to dress up in honour of the day with his best suit or a national costume called a Bunad and carry a flag with the Norwegian colours. The beauty of this gathering is that Bunads, these thick woollen outfits vary in style and in appearance (colours and shapes) according to different regions of the country .They may feature beautiful flower motifs, stripes and pleats. Elaborate embroidery can be used on many different parts of the costume, including bonnets, belts, aprons, skirts, shirts, and bodices. However, children are the happiest of the world as they can have as many pølser (hotdog), ice-cream and brus (soda) as they want on that day! Romania and the Kingdom of Norway enjoy special relations based on a close political dialogue both as NATO allies and partners within the EEA continued from page 6 Since May 1917, our countries’ bilateral relations have grown stronger through diplomacy and cooperation. Norway has been a reliable partner and a strong supporter of Romania during its NATO integration process. In recent times, the bilateral dialogue has continued at a very intense pace. Contacts have multiplied and frequent visits at various levels have taken place. I was very pleased to welcome the Minister and Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, responsible for EEA and EU Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vidar Helgesen, to Bucharest, on 15 April. Similarly, my recent official visit to Oslo, between 26 and 27 April, on the invitation of my counterpart Børge Brende, was an excellent opportunity to discuss new ways of expanding and deepening the substantial political dialogue between our countries. Against this background we are currently looking at expanding and deepening our relations at the political and governmental level. We are also paying special attention to cooperation in areas such as EEA and Norwegian Grants, economy, business, academic and civil society. Recent figures in trade development confirm a constantly growing economic relationship. At the end of last year, our bilateral trade registered 675 million Euros, of which the value of exports amounted to 575.4 million, and the value of imports to 100.5 million. Romania is proving attractive to Norwegian investors, with 339 Norwegian capital companies functioning here at the beginning of 2015. I would also like to mention the important contribution of cultural relations in the context of further developing our bilateral relations. I would like to thank the Norwegian authorities, as well as the Norwegian people for their openness towards the Romanian nationals living and working in this beautiful country and express my strong belief that the Romanian community contributes to the well-being of Norwegian society. This is also the case for the impact which Norwegian cultural personalities have on the Romanian public that has a great deal of respect and admiration for the literature and art of the land of fjords. Moreover, I believe that this anniversary day should also remind us, in Romania, that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway, signed in 1814, is the second oldest written Constitution in the world still in use. It serves as a prevailing example of unity, independence, freedom, equality, and most importantly, democracy. The Constitution has also proven to be a strong document in the fields of human rights and freedom of speech. Romania shares the joy of this historic date - 17 May - and wishes the Kingdom of Norway and the Norwegian people a happy National Day once again!