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EU Commissioner for Home Affairs
Cecilia Malmström's acceptance speech when receiving the ''Estrella de Europa'' award in Zaragoza
Estrella de Europa Award 2014
Zaragoza, 4 June 2014
The Estrella de Europa is awarded every year by the Municipality of Zaragoza to people or institutions active in upholding European values. Commissioner Malmström has been awarded the Estrella de Europa 2014 ''for her work to defend human rights in the EU and in particular for her commitment to address the migratory challenges in Southern Europe''.
Dear Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to be here to receive this award: the Estrella de Europa. I am proud to receive it, but at the same time I accept it with modesty. Human rights have been at the very centre of my political activity. All along my mandate as Commissioner for Home Affairs – responsible for migration and asylum – my commitment has been to fight for an open and welcoming Europe. Migration is an important source of global development and an advantage for our society. We have a duty to help those who ask us shelter and protection. We witness terrible conflicts in our neighbourhoods. Helping those people is a common responsibility, and I am happy we have been able to agree upon a Common European Asylum System.
Also migrants coming to Europe in search of a job and a better future can contribute and enrich our countries. We live in difficult times, and hardly before we have witnessed such waves of xenophobic and racist movements in so many countries. It is time for us to make prove of leadership to defend our values. We have the duty to uphold European values: human rights, equality, freedom, free movement and open society. It is exactly in these difficult times that we have to stand still and show no hesitation.
This award reinforces my commitment to continue on this path.
Thank you very much again.