European Union Office in Kosovo 
European Union Special Representative in Kosovo

Europe Day belongs to Kosovars as much as it belongs to EU citizens

10/05/2019 - 09:53
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Europe Day Speech by Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative, Nataliya Apostolova

 

Dear Prime Minister

Your Excellencies, dear Ambassadors,

Ministers and Mayors,

distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

I am very honoured to celebrate Europe day with all of you and happy that so many of you have joined us today.

United in diversity we shall stand. Unity is not something to be taken for granted. Unity requires compromise, trust and goodwill. Unity is founded on cooperation. It is founded on the value of standing together in an increasingly uncertain world.

The European Union values are universal. They are not owned by the EU. They are shared values. But we identify them with European values to remind ourselves the lessons of a painful past. These values of democracy, of rule of law, of gender equality, of respect for minorities and promotion of universal human rights, of cooperation and compromise are what have secured our prosperous and peaceful continent.

We are very proud of our European project.

These values are challenged, threatened even, from within the EU and sometimes even in Kosovo. At times, there are serious attempts to undermine the rule of law and democratic freedoms. When in 3 weeks we are holding European elections, these elections are also about securing those values and freedoms.

This day belongs to us all. This day belongs to Kosovars as much as it belongs to EU citizens. It represents the celebration of common values we are jointly defending.

Over the 3 and half years I have been here I have met hundreds of young Kosovars that aspire to the same values and opportunities as their counterparts in our EU countries; with incredible energy, enthusiasm. As we launched our campaign 'Let's Talk Economy' I have come across a new generation of entrepreneurs, and many more I have met during the past years. It is the dynamic youth of Kosovo that demands better from us all, and from Kosovo. It is an undoubtedly European spirit!

That is why the EU has, and will continue, to put youth and education as top priorities. A good education is key to securing a prosperous future. We want to see the education system worthy of the potential of the youth I have met.

For Kosovo to succeed in the long term the drive must come from within. The youth are showing the way. No leader should be satisfied with the prospect of its best and brightest wanting to leave. Instead, they must do everything in their power to make them want to stay in Kosovo. Investing in education, job creation, rule of law and sustainable development is the right path.

It is our task every day to hold onto our shared values in the face of difficult challenges. This is in fact the challenge of any democratic society, in Europe as in Kosovo.

Happy Europe Day!

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