HoD Ambassador Berger spoke in PSO theatre on the occasion of Europe Day

HoD Ambassador Berger spoke in PSO theatre on the occasion of Europe Day

Dear Undersecretary Selim Yenel,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear colleagues and friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me thank the very gracious hosts of this event, the Presidential Symphonic Orchestra and the Ministry of Culture.  We are honoured that we can celebrate EU Day in this historic building.  

Every year when we mark Europe Day on 9 May we recount the story of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman when he in 1950 laid out his vision of how almost 1000 years of war between the European peoples and nations could be overcome by simply putting under the control of a supra-national body the very raw material that feeds all wars: steel and coal.  The struggle for peace was at the centre of his ideas. 

But he also set out ideas for a new form of political cooperation which would make war unthinkable, at least in Europe.  Today the EU covers over 4 million km² and has 508 million inhabitants — the world's third largest population after China and India. 

Wars between European nations are something of the past but we still have to cope with a plentitude of crises: the very existence of the EU has been put into question, the economy has gone through a rough patch, and the very essence of the EU, it's solidarity and humanitarian values are being tested.  Xenophobia, racism, fear of other cultures are issues that we need deal with forcefully. 

Not only is the economy recovering with very strong growth in the Euro-Zone, the recent elections in several EU Member States have shown a clear choice, a choice for Europe and the rejection of negative trends.  Indeed, the future of the European Union is a choice - a choice that belongs to every European citizen and matters to the entire world.

And it matters for Turkey that has taken the strategic choice of joining the EU.  The EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, economically successful and democratic Turkey which is a relevant partner, a relevant player in many different issues.  Turkey matters to the EU.  Our relationship can only go forward.  In the words of Ms Mogherini: "the EU will discuss with Turkish interlocutors the way forward, from our side in a very frank, open, constructive, serious, but serene manner, for the benefits of our citizens respectively: all Turkish citizens, all European Union citizens.

I would like to thank on this day the Minister and staff of the European Affairs ministry represented here by the Undersecretary; our many interlocutors in the Turkish administration and international organisations and NGOs, the embassies of the Member States of the European Union but also the staff of the EU delegation for the hard work in the past year, for their support and encouragement and their resilient optimism, hope and resourcefulness in promoting EU-Turkey relations and providing support to people in need.

And my special thanks to the Presidential Symphonic Orchestra, it's Director and conductor; Ms Sandra Pires; Mr Ayan Uştuk and everyone who has contributed to making this an enjoyable evening.

Happy Europe Day!