Wider Visions for Europe, Krynica (Poland), 11 September 2008


speech delivired at the 18th  Economic Forum of Young Leaders

Krynica, 11th September  2008

Young Colleagues

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by saying how much I appreciate the opportunity to given to me and share my views with young leaders of today.

EU is an evolving process. Today it is a union very different from what Jean Monet and Robert Schumann had in mind when they were establishing Coal and Steel Community in early 1950’s. Each time that EU had to face a challenge, it acted in light of parameters that prevailed at the time of challenge and it succeed to find a way to face that challenge. Most probably the future challenges will also be faced with a similar approach. In other words, we should not try to find solutions to future challenges with today’s parameters.

I also believe that EU will find ways to meet the challenges of 21st century with the understanding of “culture of compromise”. The solutions that will be reached ultimately may not fully satisfy all parties. In case one party is fully satisfied it means that other parties are not even poorly satisfied.  Thus, ideal compromise is to meet demands of parties with equal dissatisfaction.

 There is no question that Europe is a part of the world where history runs deep. The dynamics of European history have certainly impacted our world in many different ways over the last 4-5 centuries.

Europe is also a part of the world where nations have been able to transcend the grievances of a bitter past to successfully turn the tide of a history, fraught with rivalry and wars, to create a stable and prosperous union, based on shared values.

The European Union represents these shared values and ideals of millions of people. These values are democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and also a functioning market economy. With these fundamental principles, the EU has become a source of inspiration not only for its own people but also those living in wider geographies.

There are many areas surrounding Europe for which the EU needs to be able to develop long term strategies: North Africa, the Black Sea Basin, the Mediterranean, the Caucasus and the Middle East come to mind as definite priorities.

The fact is that in today’s world, the centres of gravity are fast changing. Asia is becoming more and more important in international affairs. Africa has huge potential. Latin America is growing out of its traditional woes. Globalization means the world is smaller and, in a way, flat.

The challenges are all very complicated in their nature. In order for the EU to meet these challenges fully, it must build on its successes in Europe, and its environs, and then gradually expand its area of influence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the kind of preventive, forward looking strategic thinking that has guided European integration in the second half of the 20th Century. A similarly brave strategic outlook that avoids missing the forest for the trees, will guide Europe through the 21st century.

Now I can take the questions from the floor…

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