Address by Mr Dermot Ahern T.D. at a Reception to Celebrate the Accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU
Address by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D. at a Reception to Celebrate the
Accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU
Iveagh House, 10 January 2007
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all very much for joining me here, with Ambassador Benisheva of Bulgaria and Ambassador Stancu-Davidoiu of
I am moved by the sight of many of you wearing ribbons in solidarity with the Bulgarian nurses and their Palestinian colleague imprisoned in
I would like to welcome also the Diplomatic representatives of our European partners. Your presence here today reflects the universal welcome for our newest partners.
I want also like to take this opportunity to wish the German Presidency all the best in the months ahead and to thank the Finns for their determined efforts on our behalf in the last six months.
With the accession of Bulgaria and
The celebrations, in Bucharest on New Year’s Eve and in
My colleague Minister Dick Roche, who was Minister of State for European Affairs during the Irish Presidency, had the very good fortune to attend both celebrations in person. It was fitting that
Making a success of enlargement was a key priority for the Irish Presidency in 2004. The accession of 10 New Members that year has proved to be one of Europe’s greatest achievements. At that time also, the negotiations with
I have always believed that
Constant EU support for the peace process has been a valuable catalyst for political change and an end to violence in
Of course, we know that membership is no cure-all, nor does it guarantee success. For
The accession of Bulgaria and
Slovenia’s achievement in joining the euro less than three years after its EU accession illustrates the positive economic impact of the 5th enlargement. It provides an inspiration to other Member States in their efforts to fulfil the requirements of euro membership.
This month three languages, Irish, Bulgarian and Romanian, have joined the family of official EU languages, adding significantly to the Union’s impressive linguistic diversity as well as introducing a third EU alphabet, Cyrillic. This wholehearted respect for diversity is a quintessential EU quality. As committed Europeans, we cherish our cultural differences while, at the same time, working together diligently to deepen our integration and further our common interests. While I am on the subject of cultural diversity, may I say that I look forward to the traditional musical performances we are about to hear.
In 2007, we will mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. This gives us a great opportunity to renew the momentum of European integration. On this occasion, we have reason to recall the achievements of the past, such as:
- the establishment of peace and prosperity in Europe
- the creation of a vast single market
- the success of the Euro
- the positive impact of EU policies such as economic and social cohesion and the Common Agricultural Policy.
There is much to be happy about, but there are absolutely no grounds for complacency. There is an enormous amount to be done and we cannot take the future of Europe for granted. We ought to use this anniversary as a stimulus to encourage us to create the kind of
There is a need to renew our commitment to institutional reform as provided for in the Constitutional Treaty.
We must work to secure our continent’s future prosperity by shaping a more competitive Europe in the face of a rapidly changing global economy. The EU has a duty also to contribute to stability in other parts of Europe and develop our relations with our neighbours. The Union needs to develop its international role so that we can have a constructive impact in areas of conflict such as the Middle East and
In the coming years, it will not be enough to engage European governments and political elites. We must also involve our people in this work so that the Union of tomorrow can be as relevant and as positive a force as it has been in the past. All 27 of us must work together to meet these challenges. By joining the EU, Bulgaria and Romania will bring their particular experience to bear on the life of the
It remains clear that European nations can achieve so much more by working in unison than we can when we pursue our separate courses. The Irish language logo for the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome features the words “le chéile” – together. There is a well-known Irish proverb: “Ní neart go chur le chéile” – it is only by working together that we will be strong. This is an apt description of the essential strength of our Union. Now that we are 27, that principle remains as valid as ever.
Thank you for your attention. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.Top