Speech by Professor Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament: "The 25th Anniversary of Portugal's Accession to the EU
Dear Prime Ministers,
Today we are celebrating a great anniversary. Twenty five years ago Portugal and Spain decided to join us in building the European Union.
You came as partners, bringing with you your relationship to Brazil, to Africa, and the wider Lusophone Community, opening Europe more to the external world.
You brought your culture, your traditions, but you also brought that Atlantic spirit which led Magellan to sail around the world.
A spirit of discovery which pushes us to explore new ideas and to find new ways of addressing challenges.
That spirit can be found in our new treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon, which has reinforced the role of my institution, created a new legal framework, and has given Europe the tools to speak with one strong voice to the external world.
Twenty five years ago this country made a choice to continue reforms after the dictatorship of Salazar, to stabilise its democracy, and be a functioning market economy. That choice led to unprecedented growth, stability, and prosperity.
Today Portugal is also faced with a choice. A choice which will affect the next twenty five years of your history, but will also affect your partners in the EU.
The economic crisis we are all facing is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity, an opportunity to change, and an opportunity to continue the reforms we need to make our Union fit for the 21st century.
In times of crisis we have to remember to do the right thing, and not the convenient thing.
The European Union is not just a single market and a single currency. The European Union is much more than that. It is first of all a community, a community where the value of "solidarity" is the glue which keeps our Union together.
I was in Greece and Romania in the past ten days, countries which are also facing tough decisions. I will tell you what I told them - you are not alone. Europe will stand by you, no matter how long the road is, and how difficult the reforms are.
The past twenty-five years were a success story for Portugal. I am convinced that the next twenty-five years will also make you a success story.