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Mr Prime minister,
Distinguished members of the Assembly,
Dear colleagues ambassadors of the EU member states and other ambassadors,
Dear representatives of judiciary, independent institutions, civil society and media,
Thank you all for coming and thank you to the Museum of Contemporary Arts for hosting us tonight.
This year more than ever before, Day of Europe is not just a celebration of 6 decades of peace and prosperity within the EU borders. It should provide us an opportunity to reflect on its future. I want to share with you tonight 3 of mine reflections.
In recent years citizens of Europe have been confronted with several real, exaggerated or imagined fears and challenges related to globalisation, economic and financial crisis, to security threats and migration situation.
The EU has ultimately been dealing successfully with these challenges. But at the moment of the crises, it did not necessarily appear to have an immediate solution at hand. This led many of its citizens to start turning to the national states or imagined simple – populist solutions for the answers.
So one of the main tasks ahead is to rebuild trust of citizens in the EU as their best vehicle to guarantee peace, security, stability and prosperity on the continent and beyond.
Citizens need Europe that protects, and our partners need Europe that they can count on.
The EU continues to present a strong pull factor, for people of the WB, for other nations in Europe but also for people from other continents. Why is it that overwhelming majority of citizens in the Western Balkans is supporting membership in the EU? Apart from the level of prosperity and normality that exists in the EU, I believe that people are attracted to values and freedoms that the EU represents and guarantees to its citizens.
However, the EU as we know it, based on principles and values enshrined in the article 2 of the Lisbon treaty as well as in the Charter of fundamental rights, and the EU as force for good in international relations, cannot and should not be taken for granted. It is being challenged from within and from outside.
The third and last reflection for tonight goes to you as future citizens of the union. It is in your strong interest, as well as responsibility to see that the union not only rebuilds its trust with its citizens and reinstates as the continent´s best promise for peace, security and prosperity, but also that it remains champion of civic liberties, of democratic political institutions, of rule of law, of political, economic and social rights, of freedom of movement of people, good and capital, of social justice, equality and solidarity.
President Tusk said recently here in Skopje that by implementing reforms, by building one society for all, by committing to consensus building on national issues, by partnering on migration challenge, by building relations with your neighbours, you are refreshing European trust in the region.
The current debate in Europe is therefore not something you should be observing from afar. You should find your place and contribute to these discussions. The future of the EU we are discussing and fighting for today is the future EU you are going to live in.
Let me conclude by an appeal: the European Union is our common most powerful tool. So let's speak up and stand up together for a strong Europe, Europe of the future.