Norway is again celebrating its Constitution Day. Our national day is all about the Constitution. Adopted on 17 May 1814, amended throughout the years, but with the core values intact.
At the beginning of 1814, Norway was part of the absolute monarchy Denmark-Norway. By the end of that year, the country had entered into a union with Sweden. In between, Norwegians had mobilized for and drawn up the world’s most democratic constitution at the time. It was ‘the year of miracles’, 203 years ago.
The document marked the beginning of the constitutional kingdom of Norway. It states the fundamental principles and values upon which we build our society, and how to develop it further.
Sovereignty of the people, separation of powers, independence of the political institutions, the rights of the individual.
The powers of the state shall be controlled, and those who govern shall be held accountable.
Yes, we do repeat these principles, year after year.
A point in itself. An important reminder.
Beyond Constitution Day, vigilant citizens, an active civil society, a critical press, academic institutions, and responsible political leaders make the constitution a reality and a living document. This is democracy.
The Norwegians have a very special way of celebrating their constitution day. All Norwegian towns and villages organize children’s parades with bands playing music. The whole country is draped in the colors of our flag; red, white and blue. It is children’s and family day, where we celebrate our democracy and our freedom.
In a bilateral context, Norway enjoys close and good cooperation with Romania, as partners in Europe and as NATO members.
Within the framework of the EEA and Norway Grants, we work together to reduce social and economic disparities in Romania and to strengthen the bilateral relations. This year, in 2017, Norway and Romania will celebrate 10 years of cooperation under the Grants. We are looking forward to sharing many good stories with the public in the first half of June.
I have travelled extensively during my years in Romania, which I have enjoyed immensely. Romania is welcoming, beautiful and friendly.
It is also amazing and inspiring, wherever I go, to meet individuals, organizations and institutions with a link to Norway, developed with or without the umbrella of the EEA and Norway Grants.
It is heartwarming to meet with Norwegians and Romanians alike appreciating the mutual value of cooperation, of learning from each other.
It is proper to recall that Romania has a long and rich political, economic and cultural history. We recognize that Romania already in the mid-19th century adopted a progressive and liberal Constitution.
What better way is there to strengthen bilateral relations and at the same time to safeguard principles of freedom and democracy, of equality and justice, than to exchange experiences and to join hands in building a better future for all.
Happy Constitution Day!
Gratulerer med grunnlovsdagen!