9 May 2016, Brussels – Video message from European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini on the occasion of Europe Day
I know many people today will be asking whether we still have reasons to celebrate Europe day.
For the first time in our history, our European Union faces an existential threat. This is not simply about terrorism: we have the tools to defeat the terrorist threat and prevent radicalisation. This is for sure not about migration: a Union of half a billion can manage the current flows, protect lives and build strong partnerships with other countries, in our region and beyond.
The existential threat comes from within our own borders.
Our Union is at risk when we build walls, instead of tearing them down.
Our Union is at risk when we behave as part-time Europeans – we call for help when we need it, but we are not ready to help.
If we discriminate people for the colour of their skin, or the language they speak, or the way they pray – if we do so, our Union is at risk, because our identity is based on diversity.
In this tough moment in the history of the world, the world needs a strong Europe more than ever. We have a responsibility to our own citizens, and also to the rest of the world.
Since I took office, one and a half years ago, I have travelled the entire world. And everywhere I go, people look at Europe with so much admiration, and hope.
Despite all difficulties we are still the only successful process of regional integration, and the richest continent in the world. In no other place is there so much freedom – freedom to speak our mind, freedom to move, freedom to pray and not to pray, freedom to love, freedom to vote, freedom to choose our own destiny and work to make it real.
Everywhere in the world we are the first trading partner, the first investor, the first donor for humanitarian and development aid, the first diplomatic power. Too often we forget how strong we can be.
This is why we need Europe day: to be proud of what we have achieved, to keep in mind that we cannot take it for granted, and to realise that European and non-Europeans need Europe.
What we need is leadership, not populism. We need to preserve Europe, and we need to reform it. It is time to change our Union, to save our Union.
This is what this celebration is all about. Happy Europe Day.
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