The celebration of Europe Day is momentous time to remember how vision and strong determination towards a common goal had the power to heal a continent torn by a global conflagration. The ambitious Declaration delivered by Robert Schuman on this day, 68 years ago, set the ground for what is today a model of peace, democracy and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, namely the European Union. It is thus a moment for all European citizens to celebrate together, honor our common history and values, but also think ahead at what we are yet to achieve together.
What we see today as accomplishments were not a given, but the result of the determined work of our visionary predecessors, undismayed by skepticism or obstacles ahead. It is our responsibility towards the young generation to defend our so hard and long fought for achievements, stay true to what we believe in, preserve our common heritage and tackle any difficulty along the way in solidarity, trust and confidence in the European project.
From its initial economic integration rationale, the EU has evolved into a symbol of unity in diversity for the whole world. We are the world’s largest single market, people travel freely in our part of the world, businesses develop across borders. We have achieved economic prosperity on the continent, while at the same time not sacrificing the full respect of democratic standards and human rights, maintaining at the heart of our action the wellbeing of our citizens and most importantly – developing the concept of European citizenship and identity.
The European project is first and foremost a project of solidarity – between the member states, between citizens, but also with its neighbours. It is our duty as Europeans to uphold our unity and cohesion and cooperate closely to strengthen our Union, as it is the most efficient common answer for today’s challenges, both internal and external. The unprecedented challenges we are facing at EU level, with the future of Europe being intensely debated, one member state on the threshold to leave the Union and several others confronted with strong nationalistic and even Eurosceptic movements, are a clear expression of the unpredictability of the current global scene.
EU’s fundamental principles and values of freedom, tolerance, equality and solidarity serve as an anchor for EU’s attractiveness. As a pole of stability in its region, for Romania it remains essential to promote stability and prosperity in the neighbourhood, especially through the Eastern Partnership. Our commitment towards our Eastern partners can be a powerful catalyst for stabilisation and modernisation, bringing them closer to European values and standards, as together we are stronger and more resilient.
Both at EU and global level, there is a strong need to reconnect with the citizens. We are all Europeans and we should all celebrate the common values and principles that have bound us together for decades. We have placed citizens not only at the heart of our internal action, but also of our external action, as they should be the final beneficiaries of the European choice of their countries.
Looking at the picture of the past and upcoming years, Romania finds itself celebrating three successive key moments in its national and European history. On this day last year we were celebrating, together with Europe Day, ten years since Romania has become member of the EU family, an important milestone in our history and an objective of outmost importance for our society. To this day, Romanian citizens remain strong supporters of the EU and fully understand that EU membership is essential for sustainable economic and social development.
This year we proudly look back to our glorious past and celebrate our Great Union Centenary. To honor its ancestors who made this major moment possible, Romania will reaffirm its role as a credible and firm pro-European actor, will continue to actively contribute to the development of our common policies in the benefit of our citizens and will remain strongly engaged in reinforcing the European Union and reaffirming its role on the international stage.
This time next year, Romania will be holding for the first time in its history the rotating Presidency of the EU Council. The responsibility that we will have in driving forward the European agenda is a great opportunity for our country to show its firm stance in support of the European project and bring an unbiased contribution to the general efforts of consolidating the European Union. The Romanian Presidency of the European Union Council aims to successfully work towards a secure, convergent, globally important and united Europe, guided by the common values that we all share. During its mandate at the helm of the EU Council, Romania will strive to develop a Union that is also fully able to project more stability, democracy and prosperity in its neighbourhood. Driving forward the enlargement policy and enhancing the European action in the Eastern neighbourhood should remain essential elements of EU’s external action.
Europe Day stands, more than anything else, as a reminder that we have each other to count on. Our constant message is one of unity and trust in the European Union, as we are committed to remain firm supporters of this project that has succeeded to materialize our dream of a shared, peaceful and prosperous future.