Noble Peace Prize to the European Union

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have to say that when I woke up this morning, I did not expect it to be such a good day.

It was with great emotion that I received the news of the award of the Noble Peace Prize to the European Union. It is a great honour for the European Union to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace prize by the Nobel Peace prize committee. It is indeed a great honour for all the 500 million citizens of Europe, for all the Member States and all the European institutions to receive this Nobel Prize for Peace.

It is justified recognition for a unique project that works for the benefit of its citizens and also for the benefit of the world.

We must never forget that at its origins the European Union brought together nations emerging from the ruins of the devastating 2nd World War and united them in a project for peace, built on supranational institutions representing the common European interest.

The European Union, starting with the European Community, has reunified countries split by the Cold War, and made it around values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, justice, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Through its transformative power, the European Union was able, starting from six countries to reunite almost all the European continent. These values: freedom, democracy, justice, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the ones that people all over the world aspire to. These are also the values that the European Union promotes in order to make the world a better place for all. We are proud that the European Union is the world’s largest provider of development assistance and humanitarian aid and is as also at the forefront of global efforts to protect our planet through the fight against climate change and to promote global public goods.

The award today by the Nobel Committee shows that in these difficult times the European Union remains an inspiration for countries and people all over the world and that the international community needs a strong European Union.

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee and the international community are now sending a very important message to Europe that the European Union is something very precious, that we should cherish it for the good of Europeans and for the good of the entire world.

I thank you for your attention.