Wednesday 29 March 2006

Photos from the Gala banquet


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Speech of HM Queen Margrethe, given in Danish at the gala banquet on March 29 in honour of HE Giorgi Parvanov, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, and Mrs. Parvanova, his wife, at Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen.

Mr. President, Mrs. Parvanova,

It is with great joy the Prince Consort and I welcome the President of Bulgaria and Mrs. Parvanova to Denmark today. We both reminisce about our visit to your lovely country, and hope to be able to reciprocate a little of the warm hospitality which met us everywhere during our state visit in Bulgaria in October 2000.

Bulgaria was the first Eastern European country to make formal connections to NATO, and from the very beginning, she participated actively in the co-operation within the guidelines of the Partnership for Peace accord. Therefore, general content prevailed when, in 2004, Bulgaria was welcomed as a valid member of the transatlantic defence alliance, and both before and after that, important Bulgarian contributions have been made to the advancement of security and stability in and outside of Bulgaria. Furthermore, Bulgaria early on sought relations with the European Union. As early as the spring of 1993, Bulgaria entered into partnership with the EU, and an application for membership was given at the end of 1995. In Denmark, we have followed, with respect and admiration, the efforts to obtain full membership in the many intervening years. Considerable support has been given from both the EU and the individual member countries in order to have come so far, that membership is now within reach, and also from Denmark, contributions have been made. But the most significant effort has been that of the Bulgarian society which, despite suffering privations, has been determined to maintain and continue the course of reform, however difficult the changes may seem. It cannot be easy for a society to, in a short amount of time, build so much, and get accustomed to so many new challenges; but it is impressive to see how not least the younger generations have gotten down to the work with energy and enterprise, and I know that the results are already felt everywhere.

During the restructuring of Bulgaria's international orientation, which the political breakthrough entailed, the efforts to obtain full memberships of NATO and the EU have been highly prioritised, and the preparations regarding this have occupied many resources. It is therefore admirable that, parallel herewith, there has been the energy - not least in the course of your presidency, Mr. President - to strongly assert the country in the broader, international collaboration. Thus, your country was elected as member of the United Nations' Security Counsil a couple of years ago, and in 2004, Bulgaria held the presidency of the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The extensive, Bulgarian involvement is held in general respect.

Since the beginning of the 1990's, many new relations between our countries have arisen. The communication regarding finances and commerce has been increasing steadily; both the international and bilateral collaborations have established many personal contacts, and Bulgaria has become one of the preferred destinations for Danes. We have gotten to know one another! During our visit to Bulgaria, the Prince Consort and I had the opportunity of meeting both the present and the past of the country. The newly unearthed relics of antiquity that we saw, made an immense impression: A past so far away; and yet so tangibly near when you are standing in the Thracian royal tomb at Starosel. Danish researchers are working in close contact with their Bulgarian colleagues, and not many years ago, it was clear that one of our finest treasures from prehistoric Denmark, the great Gundestrup silver vat, must derive from the area at the river Danube which we now know as Bulgaria.

But it is not only the prerogative of researchers to feel drawn to your country, Mr. President. More than 70,000 Danish tourists visited Bulgaria in the year past, attracted by the sunlit shores of the Black Sea. The Danish fascination of the beauty of the Black Sea's shores is not a new phenomenon, I might add. One of our most beautiful stretches of coast is situated by Århus, the city which the President and his wife will visit tomorrow; a very popular resort has carried here, for more than a hundred years, the name of Varna, named by a returned naval captain in enthusiasm about the beautiful Black Sea shore. On his journey up the Danube, Hans Christian Andersen was moved by "the Bulgarian Land" as it was called in that age; one and a half centuries later, he was, so to speak, to return again, as Bulgaria, with great, personal commitment from you, Mrs. Parvanova, participated in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the fairytale writer's birth.

Mr. President, being a historian, you have, for a very long time, been committed to the welfare of your country, and by virtue of your present, prestigious office, you have contributed to the promotion of respect for your country, for her people and her ancient culture.

In the 75th year of diplomatic connections between Denmark and Bulgaria, I am pleased to see the many personal contacts which are created in these years, in different areas and different levels. They are part of promoting mutual understanding and sound connections between our countries.

Wishing for continuing happiness and progress for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people, I raise my glass in order to, with the Prince Consort, propose a toast to the President of Bulgaria and Mrs. Parvanova.

Thanks to Lasse for the translation!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary looks lovely

11:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mary looks all right. if Mel C from Spice Girls lost 15kg they can be twin sisters!

3:39 am  

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