Check against delivery!
I would like to thank you all very much for joining us today for a very important date for the European Union and our friendship with Kuwait. And I want to thank you personally, Deputy Prime Minister [of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah], my dear friend, for joining us at this ceremony for the inauguration of the EU Delegation in Kuwait.
This Delegation increases our presence in the region and, most of all, it is the strongest possible symbol of our friendship with Kuwait.
I would like to thank all our Kuwaiti friends for your great hospitality and thank you for our outstanding cooperation in these last years.
This new European Delegation to Kuwait that we have inaugurated today is first and foremost a sign of how close the European Union and Kuwait have become in these years.
In a moment of regional and global tensions, Kuwait is a voice of wisdom and a force for peace. And this is what has made us natural partners in these difficult times. You have taken upon you the role of mediator and peacebuilder - bridge builder. And this requires always a lot of courage and even more so in these difficult times.
You have demonstrated this attitude during your membership of the UN Security Council for the years 2018-2019, but even more importantly with your mediation within the Gulf Cooperation Council, and to build peace for Yemen.
In each one of these challenges and on many, many more, the European Union and Kuwait have been working side by side.
Together we have contributed to help the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], overcome its funding crisis.
We have been among the strongest supporters of Syrian refugees across the region, and of the Yemeni people in the middle of a dramatic humanitarian situation.
So it simply just happened that we kept finding ourselves on the same side of argument – and I would dare to say: on the same side of history, on the side of peace and mediation. And as a consequence, we both decided to invest in our friendship, and make it grow.
Three years ago we signed a Cooperation Arrangement between our foreign services. And now, by establishing a full diplomatic presence of the European Union here in Kuwait City, we are opening a brand new chapter in our partnership.
This is our third Embassy in a Gulf country, after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, and it will also be responsible for the moment, for our relations with Qatar. So I believe this also sends a message to the whole region: the European Union is increasing its presence and its engagement in the Middle East and the Gulf - because we are neighbours, we share the same region and we are tied to one another.
What happens in the Gulf matters to Europe, and what happens in Europe matters to the Gulf. So it is essential, it is natural to invest in our ties, and to explore every single opportunity we have for cooperation when our interests and values converge.
In this moment in time, we share an interest in stopping the current regional escalation. We share an interest in advising all actors of the society for maximum restraint and to bring some wisdom and rationality into the conversation.
We share the same views and the same approach on this, our common region does not need another confrontation, another conflict, or another war. We do not need a nuclear arms race. We need rationality. We need to preserve what was built in years of negotiations and build on it, instead of opening new fronts.
On this and on many other issues, Kuwait and the European Union stand on the same side and work for the same objectives – the objective of peace and cooperation. So today we do not just celebrate the culmination of several years of very good work together, for which I would like to thank you, Deputy Prime Minister and all your team.
We also mark today a new beginning of an even closer partnership and friendship between us, to better serve our citizens, in both Europe and Kuwait and for peace and security in our common region.
Thank you very much.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-176122