Two day celebration of Norway´s Constitution Day


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Norway´s Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Ms. Dilek Ayhan, was the guest of honor at this year´s  May 17th celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, a day Norwegians celebrate with great dedication and joy, according to Consul General Helle Klem.

Events on both May 17 and May 18 were part of the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day 2015. On May 17, the very popular family event took place at the Norwegian Church Abroad, Sjømannskirken, in Gavea, and more than 300 people were present for the commemorations. On May 18, 2015, the traditional NBCC breakfast seminar was held, at the Windsor Atlantica Hotel in Copacabana. Norway´s Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Ms. Dilek Ayhan was the guest of honor at both events. For several years, the breakfast seminar, organized by the NBCC and the Consulate General, has been part of the Norway Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.

“We are very proud to have the Deputy Minister in Rio de Janeiro as our guest and speaker, and could hardly wish for someone more appropriate. We are very pleased that Ms. Ayhan decided to come to Rio de Janeiro to experience the strong and vibrant Norwegian community we have here, to celebrate May 17 with us, and experience the presence of Norwegian companies here. I am convinced that she by meeting with Norwegian stakeholders and with our very active chamber of commerce will continue to Brasilia with a first hand impression and important input for the political meetings taking place in the Brazilian capital”, Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Mrs. Helle Klem said in her opening remarks at the seminar.

Representatives of the NBCC board at the breakfast seminar.Representatives of the NBCC board at the breakfast seminar.A LONG TERM COMMITMENT
Ms. Dilek Ayhan was head of the Norwegian delegation going to Brasilia to the annual consultations in the Joint Economic Commission in May, an important forum discussing topics of great relevance to the Norwegian Brazilian business community. The Deputy Minister also announced that she has cleared her schedule to receive the Brazilian delegation in Oslo for the Nor-Shipping Expo in June.

“It is an honor for me to participate at this business breakfast”, Ms. Ayhan said, assuring the audience that Brazil continues a top priority to the Norwegian government, despite the challenging times that the Norwegian and global oil industry is going through. Despite the slowdown of the Brazilian economy, the presence of Norwegian companies is stable, and the Norwegian industrial presence is diverse.

“Brazil and Norway are long term partners, and the last decade, our relations have been strengthened, due to the discovery of the pre-salt oil. We have seen a boom of Norwegian investments and establishments in Brazil, not only in the oil and gas sector, but also in other sectors. The increased Norwegian interest was confirmed by the launching of government´s Brazil Strategy in 2011. Our ambition is to be a preferred partner to Brazil in a variety of areas. To be honest, it seems like none wants to leave Brazil. Everyone seems to love this country. They still have faith in Brazil and is taking a long term view”, the Deputy Minister said in her speech to the seminar.

The NBCC breakfast seminar has become a tradition for the Norway Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.The NBCC breakfast seminar has become a tradition for the Norway Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.A global approach is necessary for a small economy like the Norwegian.

“Oil and offshore related products and services are our most important exports, and the oil prices falling has been a wake-up call to us. We see the offshore industry adapting to new times, and also offshore solutions and technologies being adapted to new markets. In a new economic climate we need policies to strengthen and increase competitiveness”, she said, outlining some of the key priorities of the Norwegian government. According to Ms. Ayhan, the government is seeking to make it easier and less expensive to do business in Norway and to facilitate innovation

“Norway is in a good place to meet the challenges we are facing, but we still want to strengthen our efforts in lowering taxes, building more roads and railroads and cutting red tape. Norwegians also need to seek new opportunities abroad, and I assure you that the Norwegian government has a long term commitment to Brazil. Brazil is an important market for Norwegian companies and we will do what we can to support you”, the Deputy Minister said.

NBCC president Camila Mendes Vianna Cardoso also expressed great satisfaction for receiving the Deputy Minister as the main speaker of the Norway Day event. “Both Norway and Brazil has the sea as the source of its main natural resources. We are very happy to receive Ms. Ayhan, as this is her area of expertise and also the area I have dedicated my professional life as a lawyer to”, Mrs. Vianna Cardoso said in her address.

At night, the Norwegian Consul General, Mrs. Helle Klem hosted a cocktail for the Norwegian business community in Rio de Janeiro, in her residence in Urca. In August, Mrs. Klem is returning to Norway and leaving the Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro in the hands of Mrs. Sissel Hodne Steen. This was the last Norway Day celebration for Helle Klem in Rio de Janeiro.

Camerata Laranjeiras.Camerata Laranjeiras.A group of musicians from Camerata Laranjeiras played at the cocktail party, and both the Norwegian and the Brazilian national anthems were on the repertoire played by the talented young musicians. A tempting typical cream cake decorated with fresh blueberries and raspberries in the colors of the Norwegian flag was on the menu, along with a great variety of snacks and drinks.

“The Norwegian Constitution Day is something Norwegians take very seriously and celebrate with great dedication and joy. This year we are even celebrating for two days in a row here in Rio de Janeiro. I am very pleased to see so many here this evening and it is a particular pleasure and honor to have Deputy Minister Dilek Ayhan and her delegation present. Their visit demonstrates the active and ongoing relationship between our two countries. As I am returning to Norway in August, this is the last Norway Day reception we host here. It has been four active and interesting years, and I would like to use this opportunity to thank you all for your friendship and contributions. It has been a privilege to work here and to live the carioca way of life in this marvelous city», the Consul General said, before proposing a toast to the party.

A toast to Norway.A toast to Norway.The Deputy Minister also gave a brief address to the many present guests.

«I am very happy to celebrate the Norwegian constitution Day here with you this evening. The Norwegian constitution is the second oldest written constitution still in use in the world, and last year we celebrated its 200 year anniversary. Norway´s trade with Brazil is almost as old as the constitution, and the exchange of bacalhao for coffee dates back to 1843. Much has changed since then and today more than 150 Norwegian companies are present here in Brazil. The hospitality and warmth of the Brazilians truly makes it pleasant to be here. I first visited Brazil when I was only 23 years old, and this amazing, hardworking, passionate spirit of the Brazilian people have always inspired me», Ms. Ayhan said.

The Deputy Minister also met with Team Norway, with the Norwegian NGO-s DreamLearnWork and Karanba and with the board of Abran, the Brazilian wing of the Norwegian Shipowners´Association on May 18, 2015. The anual consultations in the Economic Commission, established by Norway and Brazil to discuss matters of importance to the two countries, took place in Brasilia on May 19 and 20. NBCC president Camila Mendes Vianna Cardoso was also present for the meetings in Brasilia.


By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist