Remarks by Jerzy Buzek at the Open Days of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the 60th Anniversary of the Schuman Declaration
It is a great pleasure for me to be here at the European Parliament, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
The Declaration is just as relevant today as it was six decades ago because it offered a new form of governance, open to all who wished to join. A form of governance based on negotiations, partnership, and solidarity, and not one based on force and oppression.
As I described it to our friends in Washington last month, it is better that Europe should be "boring, than warring".
For the people of Central and Eastern Europe who were denied the right to participate from the beginning in the creation of our common Europe, because of a tragedy of history, the Schuman Declaration also has a special meaning.
In 1950, in an alternative universe - one where Europe was not divided by walls and an Iron Curtain - Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia would probably have joined the European Coal and Steel Community as founding member states.
It is important to remember that representatives of governments in exile attended the Hague Congress which started the process, its secretary was Polish, Józef Retinger.
The delegates called for greater European integration and founded our sister institution here in Strasbourg - the Council of Europe.
The people of Central and Eastern Europe were always ready to join in this joint project. It took us almost fifty years to have our voices heard - that we too are Europeans and believe in a united Europe.
Today we are a reunited and reintegrated continent; reunited also because of the 'Schuman spirit' and the institutions he and the founding fathers created.
Schuman and Monnet's genius lay in breaking free from all the assumptions that had come before. They used the market as a vehicle to promote economic and political inter-dependence. The Communities which followed were designed to ensure reconciliation and make war impossible.
But our work is not done yet. Europe still needs integration. Our single market is not complete, and as we see in this economic crisis we all face, we need solidarity and the ability to work together, to compromise, and to find concrete solutions.
In celebrating this anniversary, our joint birthday, we are also celebrating that "spirit" which makes our common, united Europe a success story of which we can all be proud.
I hope that being here, you too will sense that "spirit of Schuman" which is needed today as much as it was needed sixty years ago.