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Opening remarks by Prof. Jerzy Buzek, EP President "On the occasion of the visit of Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations"

Strasbourg -
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends,

Today we have the honour of welcoming to the European Parliament for the first official visit, His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Ban Ki-moon.

This visit is a very timely one.

Last month, at the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, we had an opportunity to review our accomplishments and see what still needs to be done. On Sunday, we celebrated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We are only two months from a conference in Cancun, where we would like to see concrete steps taken in our flight against climate change. We are also witnessing important developments that affect global security, developments in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia.

But a visit of the Secretary General of the United Nations would always be timely. Because today's world poses ever more global challenges: Challenges that can only be addressed by a common effort of all nations, and all people.

You, Mr. Secretary General, will address us, the representatives of the people of a united Europe, on behalf of the United Nations.

And that word "United" stands as the profound symbol of our mutual relationship. "United" - the European Union and the United Nations - multilateral partners with a common set of goals and a common approach to solving the most pressing questions which face the world today.  

The European Parliament has always been the driving force behind ambitious European policies. This is how we understand the aspirations of our citizens. They want Europe of solidarity - of solidarity within Europe, but also of solidarity with all the people of the world. Of solidarity with the nations, which continually work to ensure that their citizens live in dignity.

In dignity, that means first of all in freedom from hunger, illnesses and violence. But in dignity means also the freedom to realise their ambitions of education, active participation in social and political life. In dignity of the freedom of belief and respect for differences.

I believe that you share those very aspirations with us. This is how I see, Mr. Secretary General, your tireless and passionate commitment to the values which the United Nations and the European Union hold in common. And this is how I see your strong support for the efforts of the European Parliament to these ends.

Mr. Secretary General, the floor is yours!
Thank you.