Nedan finns ett tal på engelska som jag höll vid invigningen av en konferens om social ekonomi i Örebro i tisdags. Skälet att publicera det är dels att jag tycker att innehållet är av intresse, dels att visa att man inte behöver kunna engelska perfekt, ens som blivande KS-ordförande, för att våga stå i en talarstol och tala...
Mr County Governor, Participants of the conference on Regional Social Responsibility. Welcome to Örebro, the Swedish Meeting place.
During the last 200 years Sweden has made a remarkable journey. From being one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the richest. From a country from where people emigrated because of a repressive government, to a country that has a record of being one of the most openhearted towards immigration and refugees. From a country without almost any governmental social responsibility, to a country where safety, security and social responsibility got a name of its own. The 20;th century created the social democratic Swedish "Folkhem" (the secure home of the Swedish people).
The city and region of Örebro has made the same journey. And not only that: During the 19;th century Örebro was one of the starting places, or one of the catalysators, for the processes that started the development of the democratic society and the social sector. And since then leaders from both different political parties, companies, organizations and the society have tried to renew and strengthen both democracy and social welfare systems.
But the last years we have found more and more cracks in the facade of our Folkhem. The social security system shows more and more of its failures. Our social welfare system does not respond to the new challenges the global society let us face. Our pride as citizens in a country with low unemployment rates is also challenged as the global markets find their ways in to our local markets. As politicians we begin to understand that there are no simple ways to solve problems connected to different kinds of social or other incoherence’s.
So for now we try to find other ways to build our strong society. But there seems to be more questions than answers. One of the main challenges I can see meets the subjects of this conference. If the question: "How do we join the different societies, the private society, the public society and the civic society, in the work for a sustainable social society?" can be answered, we will be on our way. If those results can find their ways down to different actors in local societies throughout Örebro, Sweden, Europe maybe the future will come brighter than a dull November-Tuesday predicts.
That is your challenge, and your goal. That is my challenge, as coming mayor of this city with its interesting social and democratic history. Together we can change the world. As people always has been able to do.
Once again: Welcome to Örebro. The meeting place of Sweden.