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European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy
Moldova belongs to Europe
Official opening of Europe Day/ Chişinău, Moldova
18 May 2013
It is a real pleasure to be here in Chisinau to celebrate Europe Day together with you. I am delighted to witness your enthusiasm first hand. Thank you for your warm welcome.
We come together today to celebrate the Schumann declaration, these few essential words that laid the foundations of Europe's reunification. Only a few years after the most terrible war, bitter enemies decided to put aside their differences, look together in the same direction and work together for the common good. Dialogue, compromise, and the search for the common interest were their instruments.
It is good to recall words like this- and with them the principles that have underpinned the European integration process. The European Union is a project in which they share responsibility. As a result, it brings numerous benefits to its citizens: protection, security, the rule of law, with rights and freedoms that are guaranteed, but also increased prosperity and more opportunities for individual self-realisation.
Recent events in Moldova also make me reflect on the pitfalls political processes can face: it is essential that politics is for people; it has to be accountable and inclusive, and has to strengthen democratic institutions, not undermine them. Only through politics committed to genuine reform and deep democracy come concrete benefits to citizens. Democracy is a constant work in progress and often an uphill struggle. You all have prime responsibility in safeguarding it.
I am not only addressing you as the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy - I am speaking with you today also as a man born in Czechoslovakia under totalitarian rule. I have lived the country's transition and its choices. The EU has the ability to transform countries, strengthen their democracy and boost the prosperity of their citizens. The Czechs have made their own choice. It was not made for them - neither in Brussels, nor elsewhere. Choices nations make can only be made at home.
Let me conclude with a message of unwavering friendship and support: La multi ani Europa! La multi ani Moldova! La multi ani Chisinau!
It is my pleasure to now announce the celebration of Europe Day officially open.