Remarks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D. at reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Iveagh House.
It is my pleasure to host this reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome. The 50th birthday of the European Union is a milestone in the history of
All 27 Member States can take pride in the success of our
At this time of celebration, however, the Union’s six founding Member States -
When the Treaties of Rome were signed, there were few precedents for such an ambitious undertaking. Modern
Like all pioneers, they had no guarantee of success, but their vision has been vindicated.
This teaches us that the hopes and dreams we harbour today can, with determined effort, become tomorrow’s reality.
The European Union has been very good for
Not many years ago, both
As we celebrate 50 years of European achievement, we look forward with keen anticipation to a bright future for this island, a future anchored firmly within the European Union.
Anniversaries like this inevitably prompt nostalgic reflection. In recent days I have seen many reports of what the
Looking to that future, I want to briefly address five important tasks facing the
First, we should get on with sorting out the Constitutional Treaty. This casts an unnecessary shadow over the
Second, we need to pursue the
Third, we must apply ourselves to the related issues of energy security and climate change. The Spring European Council set ambitious targets on emissions reductions and the use of renewable energy. This provides a springboard from which we can press for a global solution to these global problems.
Fourth, we Europeans have an obligation to do all in our power to help resolve conflict and combat poverty beyond our borders. With this in mind, I am particularly glad that the Berlin Declaration has highlighted Europe’s commitment to promoting freedom and development internationally. In an interconnected world, these are imperatives, not optional extras.
Finally, we have a duty to connect the Union more directly with the needs and interests of our peoples. European integration cannot be an elite project. It must be seen to serve our people’s daily interests.
The Berlin Declaration states that “Europe’s wealth lies in the knowledge and ability of its people”. To this, I would add the words – “especially our young people.”
As we mark this major European anniversary, I am delighted that Europe’s bright future is represented here this evening by some of our talented young people. Among them is Karl Elliott, from St Aidan’s CBS in Whitehall and a prize-winner in the National Forum on Europe’s recent schools’ competition.
I would also like to welcome a number of Irish students who soon be traveling to various parts of the Union to study under the Erasmus programme. I wish you all every success in what I am sure will be an exciting and rewarding venture for you.
The Berlin Declaration offers an eloquent testimony to what the Union has achieved over the past fifty years.
It reminds us of the values that sustain the Union and draws attention to those issues that will make or break Europe in the years ahead.
On the strength of our record since 1957, I am confident that Europe can rise to the new challenges of the coming decades. In the words of the Declaration, ‘Europe is our common future.’
Distinguished guests, I now invite you to stand and join me in a toast:
To the peace and prosperity of Ireland, of Europe and of the wider world!
Síocháin agus saibhreas againn anseo in Éirinn, ar fúd na hEorpa, agus sa domhan uilig.