Ambassador Christian Berger's Europe Day speech

Ambassador Christian Berger's Europe Day speech

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 22:13


9 May 2019


Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey



Dear Friends,

Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate Europe Day.  A very warm welcome! 

Dear Minister, dear Deputy Minister, dear Members of Parliament, dear Governors and Mayors, dear Ambassadors and Colleagues from the EU Member States, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Europe Day is the occasion to celebrate peace and unity in Europe.  It is also a day to recall our shared values and our motto "unity in diversity" which both lie at the heart of our relations with Turkey. 

But it also a day to say words of thanks.  Thanks to the very dedicated partners we have in the ministries, the governorates, the municipalities and the many international and civil society organisations we work with. 

My special thanks go to the EU Information Centres across the country who are celebrating EU Day with us and the people of Turkey, and to the staff of the EU Delegation in Ankara.

This evening’s event is only possible because of the hard work of many and because the Presidential Symphony Orchestra will again offer us balsam for the spirt and soul by playing Mozart, Dvorak, and Smetana, incidentally all three from the heart of Europe.  My special thanks to its director Altan Kalmukoğlu and tonight’s conductor Theodore Kuchar, and pianist Antonio Di Cristofano. 

A warm and heartfelt thank you! 

Sixty-nine years ago on 9 May, just one day and five years after the end of the Second World War which had devastated the continent and extinguished the European flame on the battlefields and in the death camps, French foreign minister Robert Schuman made a proposal that not only would make war impossible in Europe but would end 1000 years of Europeans fighting Europeans. 

It was a simple but ingenious idea: put the resources needed for war, energy (coal) and steel, under the control of a supranational organisation. This remarkable project has shaped the course of European history and redefined Europe's place in the world.

This project – of peace, of partnership, of shared values and solidarity – is far from over.  Our leaders’ meeting today in Sibiu/Hermannstadt reaffirmed our belief that unitedwe are stronger in this increasingly unsettled and challenging world. While recognising the European perspective of other European States, the new Union as a collective of 27 Members is more indispensable than ever.  It is indispensable for our citizens, who need economic growth, jobs, security, opportunities and rights, including the right to choose our representatives in democratic elections.   

The same is true for our partners – all those who want to work in a cooperative way to strengthen multilateralism, peace, sustainable development, free and fair trade, human rights and democracy. United, we stand with them.  United we stand with you.

With the words of a world leader:  “For us Europe is much more than just a Union, much more than just growth and economic security.  For us Europe means living in a modern, equal and open society.” 

Unity in diversity is the motto of our Union. Europe is above all a community of communities; with cultural diversity at the core of the European project, the European layer being one among others, not one instead of another; one that enriches our diversity, rather than impoverishes it. 

Jean Monnet said it very clearly: we are not federating states, we are uniting people.

This is what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a few days ago: “The duty of every generation is to change the destinies of Europeans, present and future, for the better. To make good on our enduring promise of peace, progress and prosperity.….it is only in unity that we will find the strength needed to preserve our European way of life, and sustain our planet, ….”

Thank you very much and enjoy the concert.