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“Peace in Europe cannot be taken for granted” – EU Ambassador

  • May 26th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Fabrizi SemThe European Union representative in Australia Sem Fabrizi says the troubles in Ukraine are a reminder of the EU’s key mission, to build peace; highlighting the point that “peace cannot be taken for granted”.

The Ambassador has been reiterating the strengths of the European idea in addresses to gatherings around Europe Day, 9 May each year: a durable economy, and democratic values, both linked with preventing war.


EU flagg - EU“Those who think that peace is the narrative of the past only need look at the recent events in Ukraine”, he said.

“Peace is a constant work in progress; we share the responsibility to safeguard and nurture it.


“Europe is about open markets and open societies, and about safeguarding the peace and prosperity on which our project is built.”

The European Union has been acting as a single authority in the efforts to quell the crisis in Ukraine, in which ethnic Russian separatists are confronting the national government in Kiev; making diplomatic interventions, with member governments also imposing sanctions on the government of Russia.

Mr Fabrizi spoke at the opening night of the Canberra International Music Festival, on 9.5.14, and later addressed a Europe Day gathering of the Australian Council for Europe, in Brisbane, 21.5.14.


The following is an extract from his commemorative address at Canberra.

May 9 this year is significant in many ways.

It marks 100 years since the outbreak of  World War I and 75 years since the start of  World War II – two tragedies that engulfed not only Europe, but the whole world including, of course, Australia.

But 2014 marks more joyful anniversaries: it is 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall brought to an end the artificial division of Europe and which ultimately led 10 years ago on May 1st, to the historic enlargement to re-embrace Europe with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and two countries in the Mediterranean, within the European Union.

Europe Day is celebrated on 9 May for it was on this day in 1950, that the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, made the first move towards the creation of what we know today as the European Union…

It is remarkable that in 1950 – just five years after the end of the World War II, when most of Europe was in ruin, millions of soldiers and civilians had lost their lives – the French Finance Minister, Robert Schuman, proposed the creation of a supranational European institution, to take charge of their war-making industries; coal and steel.

Not just a treaty but a way to frame the peace among old enemies; a re-set in geopolitical terms…

The European Union entails countries negotiating every single day on a growing number of subjects. We started with coal and steel, we moved with agriculture, transport, competition, to continue with climate, economy, foreign and security policy, and a single currency.

A successful method for dealing with differences…

Yes, we have faced many difficult challenges over this journey … Just 18 months ago, many feared the disintegration of the Eurozone, the most advanced project of our Union.

Now, there is a clear reply to the doomsayers: no one has left of has been forced to leave the Euro. This year the Euro area has grown from 17 to 18 members.

And for Europe, recovery is slowly but surely gaining ground, with growth expected to reach 1.6% this year and 2% next year. Yes, that might sound like modest growth but it is a long way from where we were …

The European Union, however, goes far beyond the economy. The European project is about the values that touch the very foundations of European society.

We are a democratic, values-based society, ruled by law. Europe is built on the firm belief of universal human rights, peace and reconciliation, and in democratic political, social and economic standards, as recognised by the award of the Nobel Prize for peace to the EU in 2012. And we are very proud of it.

Those who think that peace is the narrative of the past only need look at the recent events in Ukraine. These show that we cannot take peace for granted, it is a constant work in progress; we share the responsibility to safeguard and nurture it.

Europe is also about open markets and open societies and about safeguarding the peace and prosperity on which our project is built.

Europe has become a truly global player in defending its values and promoting its interests to make the world a better, a safer place. We have built a strong partnership with countries all over the world.

And of course with Australia, a like-minded partner, with whom we share cultural heritage, values and converging interests; a country which has the same outlook for society as we do…

This a partnership also for the future: the EU is the largest investor in this country and one of the most important trading and innovation partners.

Europe and Australia will continue to work together to promote peace and prosperity in the region and in the world.