Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, 1 October 2019.
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Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests,
Congratulations on your new production facility!
It is a great honour for me to be here today.
I’ve been here before – more than 10 years ago. I visited what was then Rescon Mapei’s recently established R&D centre. It’s good to be back.
Relations between Norway and Italy date back hundreds of years. Norway began to export stockfish to Italy in the 1400s – and today, a wide range of goods and services are traded between our two countries.
Norwegians love Italy.
We love the food, the wine, the people, the charming villages, and the fast cars.
Not to mention the football.
I’m a bit disappointed that Norway has never beaten Italy in football. And I have to admit that we probably never will. I suspect that Italy will always be a better football nation.
Having said that, some of you here today may remember the 20th of October 1993. That was when Kongsvinger’s Geir Frigård hammered in the equaliser in the match against Juventus at Ullevål stadium in Oslo – and the match ended in a draw.
Although we compete in some areas, it is good to see that in others we cooperate and bring out the best in each other. Like here in Nord-Odal, where the story of Mapei AS began more than 40 years ago.
It was here – almost as far from the sea as you can get in Norway – that a factory was built to develop concrete that could withstand the powerful forces of the sea.
Nord-Odal municipality played an important part, paving the way for what was to become a major industrial success story.
My Government is working hard to make Norway a leading industrial nation. To succeed, we must build on the industries we already have. We must draw on the skills and knowledge that have been developed over many years.
Norwegian industry is doing well in many areas. But there are a number of key challenges that we need to address.
Climate change is one of them. The impacts are being felt all over the world. We need to adapt and develop innovative solutions in a number of areas. We need more products that can withstand extreme weather events and are environmentally friendly.
This is no easy task. It means that we need to constantly develop new knowledge in a range of areas. We need to promote closer cooperation between educational institutions, research centres and businesses.
This will make it possible to identify the gaps in our knowledge. And enable us to develop Norway into an industrial nation that we – and the coming generations – can be proud of.
In many ways, Mapei is a pioneer and an inspiration for other companies. Both in Norway and in other countries.
You consistently channel 5 % of annual turnover into research and development – at both local and global level. This shows what a forward-looking company yours is. For you, innovation is a driving force and gives you a competitive edge. This benefits not only your company, but also the environment and our common future.
Your importance for the community here in Nord-Odal goes without saying. You are creating interesting new jobs and helping young people to join the workforce.
You have shown that growth and social responsibility can go hand in hand. Mapei’s investments have created positive ripple effects in the entire community. This is impressive.
As you may have realised, I take a keen interest in football. And I’m aware that Italy is known for its strategic play and focus on results.
The fact that you have chosen Nord-Odal as the headquarters for your Nordic and Baltic operations suggests that you have found the very best players right here.
So we’ll have to see what happens the next time Kongsvinger plays against Juventus.
I must admit that I have high hopes. Thanks to Mapei, the Kongsvinger team can benefit from world-class football advice, just like Roma and Juventus.
Thank you, Mapei, for choosing to expand your investments here in Norway.
We hope you continue to feel at home in Nord-Odal. We will do what we can to make sure that you do.
And now, we’re ready for the formal opening of the new facility.
I would like to invite the ones involved in the ribbon ceremony to the stage.
It is hereby my pleasure to declare Mapei’s new production facility officially opened.