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Europe Day reception Hong Kong 2019
Speech by Ambassador Carmen Cano
Head of the EU Office to Hong Kong and Macao
Honourable Financial Secretary Paul CHAN
Honourable members of the Legislative Council
Mr Song Ru'an, Deputy Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry Office in Hong Kong,
Distinguished guests, dear friends, dear Consuls General
Happy Europe Day!
Tonight we commemorate the Schuman Declaration on May the 9th, sixty nine years ago, and we celebrate the success of this ambitious European vision.
…and yes, I said success…. Because….
After the horrors of World War II, Europeans understood that building a common future was the only way to bring peace to a continent addicted to violence. Today the European Union can count more than sixty consecutive years of peace, the longest period in our recent history.
Our Union is still work in progress, but we already have some remarkable achievements. The EU is now the world's largest trading power, one of the largest economies, a global political actor, the largest donor in the world and a relentless defender of human rights, rule of law and democracy.
In just a few weeks European citizens will take part in the elections to the European Parliament, reminding everyone that democracy, rule of law, and freedom of speech are at the centre of who we are. And these are also values that we share with our Hong Kong friends.
In a much more complex world, when the multilateral system and the international rules which provided certainty seem at stake, we are also paying close attention to the challenges we face, both foreign and domestic.
In Europe, we sometimes tend to have short memories, and forgetting our own history is a recipe for nationalism, xenophobia and conflict.
We need to show Europeans that their Union work for them, for all of you, and a myriad of initiatives already prove so. We also must look forward, learning from our experiences and building on our successes. We must now be even more ambitious and focused than ever before.
Internationally, we face a more global and less safe world, which fails to tackle shared challenges such as climate change and inequality. In a new geostrategic context, the European Union remains a reliable and predictable partner. The EU doesn't hesitate to defend its interests and express its views on the basis of universal values and principles, even if sometimes we annoy our strategic partners with our comments.
The relations between the European Union and Hong Kong keep growing every year. We have strengthened our friendship in all areas, and I want to assure to the Hong Kong people that the EU will remain a strong and reliable partner come what may.
A clear testimony of our commitment to build even closer ties with Hong Kong is the presence here tonight of the Chairman of the European Securities & Markets Authority and of the Director from the Financial Services and Markets of the European Commission. You have the opportunity to ask them everything you wanted to know about the present and future of financial services… don't hesitate to do so.
Mr Secretary, I know that you attend many national days; but this celebration is a bit different. The EU Day is like another national day for many of us, as we celebrate our unity and our diversity.
In practice, it means that you get to eat wonderful desserts and drinks provided (and some even made) by the consuls general of all our EU Member States in Hong Kong.
So, tonight, I want to thank the EU Consulates General and our sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible. You can see their brands above us.
Let me close by thanking all of you on behalf of my colleagues from the European Union, and of course my fantastic team, for celebrating the EU with us. As you must have realized, I haven't included any figure or economic data in my speech, I rely on the Financial Secretary for that.
I wish you all a very pleasant evening.
Now please join me for a toast: