Opening speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Düsseldorf, 4 May 2017.
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Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here today.
I was an easy decision when I was asked to come to Germany to participate in the opening of Hydro’s new Automotive line. I said yes – mit Leichtigkeit.
It is no coincidence that both Chancellor Merkel and I are here today. When Hydro opens a factory that quadruples your capacity to deliver body-in-white aluminium to the car industry, it is a win-win situation for both Norway and Germany.
Hydro is a leading industrial enterprise in Norway, and a major global aluminium supplier. It is positive for Norway that Hydro is strengthening its international position. And it is positive for Germany that Hydro has decided to invest here, close to the German car industry. This will boost job creation and security in both our countries.
We can find aluminium in a number of products we use daily. In soft drink cans. In the mobile phone. In the car. Aluminium has many valuable characteristics. It is lightweight. It has excellent corrosion resistance. It conducts heat and electricity effectively. And – not least – it is infinitely recyclable.
It is for good reason, therefore, that aluminium is called the ‘green metal’. This lightweight metal is a material for the future, and has significant potential for increased use.
With this new automotive line, Hydro will be helping the car industry to shift from steel to aluminium. This makes cars lighter. And lighter cars use less energy, and are thus more climate-friendly.
This is a good example of how combating climate change and succeeding in the global market can go hand in hand.
It is clear that reaching the ambitious climate goals from Paris will require more international cooperation.
Norway and Germany have enjoyed close cooperation for a very long time indeed. Believe it or not - it actually dates back to the pre-aluminium era. My hometown is the Hanseatic city of Bergen, where Norwegian–German connections were already strong several centuries ago.
Norway and Germany continue to enjoy close relations in most areas of society. And Germany continues to be one of Norway’s most important trading partners.
Norway, like Germany, is seeing rapid technological advances and innovations. Globalisation and global warming are affecting industries in both our countries, and national framework conditions will continue to be crucial. Although the petroleum sector is very important for Norway’s economy, it is clear that Norwegian companies need revenue bases outside the petroleum sector.
Clean energy is a sector where we see potential for closer cooperation with Germany. Energy is already an important part of our economic relationship, and our cooperation in this field is becoming more diversified – and greener. I believe Norway and Germany can become close partners in developing green technology.
The time of the Hanseatic League is over, but I’m confident that Norwegian-German relations will continue to prosper in the years to come.