Welcome message at the Concert on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian Independence
Dear President Van Rompuy,
Dear President Landsbergis,
It is my great honour and pleasure to welcome you here today at the European Parliament for this special celebration of the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania's Independence.
Let me extend my warmest congratulations to all the people of Lithuania on this very important occasion. Twenty years ago, on 11 March 1990, Lithuania showed to the entire world the remarkable power of freedom and independence.
It returned back to the map of the world, from which it was tragically erased by the Soviet occupation. It bravely and peacefully resisted the tyranny of the totalitarian regime and it endured to celebrate its return to the European family of democratic and free nations.
Today, twenty years on, Lithuania is a respected and responsible member of the European Union and NATO. How lucky we all are to witness this extraordinary miracle of history, which would have been unimaginable several decades ago.
And how fortunate and honoured we are that today at the European Parliament we work side by side with four former signatories of the 11 March Independence Act: Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, Mrs Laima Andrikienē, Mr Justas Paleckis and Mr Algirdas Saudargas. Dear colleagues, you are our living testimony of how far we have come in the last twenty years.
Ladies and Gentlemen, once again my warmest congratulations to Lithuania, to its people and its many friends, and I wish you all a wonderful concert!