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Remarks by Professor Jerzy Buzek President of the European Parliament "Opening of exhibit: Bulgaria land of Ancient Traditions and Modernity

Brussels -
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dear Colleagues,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here to open this exhibition as part of your national day celebrations. Bulgaria is a country that has a long history and rich traditions.

Last year I was among hundreds of students at the University of Sofia on your independence day. They reminded me that tradition and modernity live side by side.

When you entered the European Union, you brought with you, not only your language, your culture, but you also brought your history. The European Union is not just a single market; it is a Union of 27 countries with 27 histories.

This is what makes Europe strong. We are truly united in our diversity.
Dear Friends,
It is important to remember that Bulgaria for centuries lost its freedom. It regained it but then lost it again. When you lose something important, like freedom, you learn to truly cherish it.

Today as we witness events unfold in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and in other parts of the Arab world, we can not help but remember our own past. Twenty years ago, it was the people of Bulgaria, and of Central and Eastern Europe who also said "enough".

Then the West was there to help us. Today, we also have a responsibility to help them because of the lessons of our own history.

As Carl Sagan once put it: "You have to know the past to understand the present". I would only add that to understand the present is the only way to work towards a better future.  Thank you and I wish you all the best on your independence day! Chestita Baba Marta !