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Vice Minister Wang Chao, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
I welcome you very much to Europe Day. I am especially honored, this being my first opportunity to host the event as EU ambassador to China.
The date marks the anniversary of the historical 'Schuman Declaration.'
At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe's nations unthinkable.
Today 28 countries share the ideals of democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. Economic, financial and trade benefits from a single market bring us unprecedented prosperity.
Sometimes the Union goes through harder times. The demise of Europe has been trumpeted on many occasions. But each crisis makes us stronger and more united.
We stand up to any challenges: our answer must not be retrenchment and disintegration – indeed what we need to succeed in today's turbulent world is even stronger unity.
In a few hours the EU leaders are gathering at Sibiu in Romania to reflect on our Union’s political aspirations and prepare the ‘strategic agenda’ for the next five years.
They will do so on the eve of the European Parliament elections where more than 400 million Europeans will take to the polls in the world’s largest transnational democratic exercise. They will do so thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and fifteen years after the unprecedented enlargement of our Union, which overcame our continent’s painful division.
The EU itself is willing and capable to project its view on global order and EU-China relations within it.
In March we published a new "Strategic Outlook" on China. Our message is clear: we are an important partner for China if China wants to join us and share global responsibility commensurate with its political and economic strength.
To make this happen, the key is to deliver on what the EU and China have agreed at the 21st summit last April, including on the global challenges of our times, better Eurasian connectivity and strengthening the rules-based global order within the UN and the WTO.
This has also been the expectation of our member states. One cannot underestimate the significance of President Xi Jinping visit to Europe (France, Monaco, and Italy) last April and his meeting with Presidents Macron, Juncker, and Chancellor Merkel.
Talking about the member states, it has already become our tradition to set up a corner for the member states to display their food, beverage and promotional material. As always all the member states are there. My particular thanks go to my fellow ambassadors and their teams for making this possible. I am also grateful for their support and friendship.
Last but not least, I would like to thank our sponsors: Foreign Spirits Producers Association (FSPA), L'Oréal, and the West East Corporation, whose generous support already made this Europe Day a very memorable event.
Have a good time!