Felipe VI praises the role of the European Commission in safeguarding the principles and values of the European project | International
King Felipe VI has underlined this Friday the role of the European Commission in safeguarding the principles, values, rights, freedoms, prosperity and peace that the European project represents and, paraphrasing the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, has indicated that "Europe, far from being a problem, is the solution". The monarch's speech at the closing ceremony of the 28th edition of the World Congress of Jurists, chaired by the Spanish Javier Cremades, took place at the UN headquarters in New York. In the act, the King presented the most important award of the Congress, the World Prize for Peace and Freedom, awarded in this edition to the European Commission and which has been collected by its president, Ursula von der Leyen.
Before the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, some thirty presidents of Courts from around the world and a capacity of more than a thousand jurists from 70 countries, the King underlined the role of the European Commission not only as representative of the general interests of the European Union in the world, but also as guardian of the Treaties. In a context marked by the war in Ukraine and growing polarization, Felipe VI has appealed to the need for a strong European Commission. "At a time when our institutions and rules are increasingly being questioned, the European Commission has shown us the value of moderation and centrality as the key to doing politics," he said.
“These actions and attitudes are at the heart of democracy and essential to preserve it. Because as Europeans I think we clearly share the belief that democracy is the soul of Europe", added the King, recalling Spain's willingness to join forces in European integration. Spain currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU.
The image of Europe as a project of hope, which ensures the well-being of all, "of our countries and societies", as it is, said the monarch, "the most significant multinational integration project in our recent history", gained special relevance this Friday "at the UN headquarters, a place where we must ensure the future of our planet", said Don Felipe, alluding to the words he addressed to the UN General Assembly in 2016.
“Almost a year and a half have passed since the Russian aggression against Ukraine began. Since then, we have witnessed the return of war to the continent [europeo], we have seen how the pillars on which we have built our European model have been seriously challenged”, concluded the King. “Today we are witnessing a struggle between two visions of the world: one of force and repression, of intolerance and exclusion. And the other, the European one, based on the values contained in article 2 of the EU Treaty, such as democracy, human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights”. European values, he recalled, fundamentally coincide with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
In a bilingual speech, in English and French, Trudeau also praised the role of the EU as a melting pot of languages and peoples and for having brought "peace and prosperity to Europe for decades." Trudeau, perhaps the most Europeanized of all Americans, recalled that Brexit, euroscepticism, protectionism and populism have threatened the European project and the US at the same time or successively, in this case under the banner of Trump America First (USA first). But in the face of disintegrative challenges, Trudeau stressed, Canada, like the EU, stands for values against isolation. Trudeau praised von der Leyen's "calm leadership" as "the real difference for Europe, Canada and the entire world."
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In her acceptance speech for the award, the President of the Commission recalled that "peace through the rule of law is also the story of a united Europe (...). The story of our Union is one of democracies, young and old, growing strong together. It is the story of the rebirth of Germany and Italy after the war. It is the story of the passage of Spain, Portugal and Greece from dictatorship to democracy. It is the story of the democratic renaissance after the fall of the Iron Curtain. And the next chapter of this story is being written today: in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as well as in the Western Balkans. This is the promise of Europe: a united continent, where all are equal before the law, with freedom and democracy for all”.
As in the interventions of the King and Trudeau, the war in Ukraine occupied a large part of Von der Leyen's speech. The European leader defended the peace plan of the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, as a "starting point for any negotiation" and positively assessed the reforms undertaken by the country on its path towards the EU. “Putin has brought war back to the European continent. This war violates the founding principles of the UN, which is why Europe will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes (...). Ukraine is not only fighting for its own freedom. Ukraine fights for the freedom of all countries, because this is the principle of the Charter of the United Nations. Nobody wants peace more than the people of Ukraine. But a lasting peace can only be built on the foundations of international law”, stressed the president of the Commission.
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