Speech addressed by the Ambassador of Greece to Romania Mr. Grigorios Vassiloconstandakis at the reception hosted by the Delegation of the European Commission, on the occasion of the celebration of Europe Day, 8/5/2014
It is a great honour for me to celebrate together with you, here in Bucharest, the Europe’s Day – a symbolic day marking the beginning of the greatest project of unity of the European nations, living side by side and together in peace and prosperity.
On this very day, back in 1950, Robert Schuman, through his well known speech, marked the birth of the European Union.
His Declaration was indeed a proposal to create a new form of organisation of states in Europe, a supranational community. It involved far more than a technical Community to place the coal and steel industries of France, West Germany and other countries under a common High Authority. It, finally, led to the re-organization of post-war Europe. The proposal-common vision, posed also several distinct aims, today being a reality:
• Europe as an economic entity as well as political - international entity
• peace in Europe
• single market
• unification of means, targets and policies
Schuman began with these words:
"World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it."
The creative and visionary effort, proposed by Shuman, was a step by step approach and led to the emergence of a peaceful, united and more prosperous Europe.
Five decades later, in 2002, euro banknotes replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Since then, the eurozone has increased to encompass 18 countries.
In 2004, 2007 and 2013, 13 states, among them Romania, became members of the EU.
In the vision of Schuman, a strong and united Europe had to be based on a de facto solidarity and cohesion of not only a government with its citizens, but also between states and between peoples.
Over the last few years, the solidarity of the EU member states found itself challenged by the emergence of a financial crisis, which resulted in an economic crisis affecting the lives of an increasing number of European citizens.
Greece assumed the rotating Presidency at that time. Indeed, the extent and intensity of the economic crisis, as well as the social repercussions and the level of the recession and unemployment in certain member-states, have shaken the confidence of an important segment of European citizens in EU Institutions and greatly affected the social cohesion. Our common challenge was, and, nowadays it is more than ever, to ensure prosperity, stability and security.
All member-states, together with the EU Institutions, are working hard to enhance structural reforms, create growth and jobs especially for the youth, deepen the Union on its political, economic and monetary dimension.
In a couple of weeks, all EU member-states citizens, will elect their representatives. They will elect the new members of the European Parliament (EP). It is a year of special importance. The euro-elections is a challenge and an opportunity for all European citizens: the Euro-elections matter.
The Lisbon Treaty improved the ability of the European Parliament to act and deliver. It is now better than ever equipped for today's and tomorrow's challenges - in a growing EU. With more power, comes more responsibility. The EP, as the only directly elected EU Institution, has new means and tools to keep the EU accountable, credible and valuable to its 500 million citizens and to give a stronger voice to them.