Prime Minister on Europe: it is our true home, where our distinctive qualities only serve to bolster us, and diversity thrives in unison


2023 05 09


Today, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has taken part in a ceremony of hoisting the flag of the European Union on Europe Day. Welcoming the participants to the event, the Prime Minister recalled the origins of Europe Day, the lessons of the history of the old continent, and the challenges that Europe faces today.

‘This day has its roots in Robert Schuman’s dream of a community that would be stronger than the painful scars of the past, a unity that wouldn’t extinguish diversity but rather support and enhance it through mutual support’, the Prime Minister said talking of the Schuman Declaration initiated by the French Foreign Minister, and which has now become the cornerstone of the European Union, while also reminding the audience of European Union’s core values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

‘Unfortunately, while Europe talks a lot about history, its lessons still take too long to learn. An economically stronger and increasingly self-absorbed Europe has soon forgot that freedom and democratic values are not given, nor taken for granted, but must be defended and renewed each and every day. And that the lure of authoritarian regimes with ‘almost free cheese’ – be it gas, oil, investments in strategic infrastructure or real estate – almost always leads to a mice trap, which is a deadly dependence,’ the Head of Government has highlighted the threats to European democracy.

The Prime Minister has pointed out events in European history (the attack on Sakartvelo, the annexation of Crimea) that were not responded to in a timely and appropriate manner, and that the mistakes of the past must be corrected. The Prime Minister has spoken about the future of the European Union and the leadership that the old continent needs to provide to the world in dealing with complex problems.

‘If we want Europe to become stronger and overcome all the complex challenges, we all have to work hard and become a support and encouragement to each other. Today, there is a lot of talk about armed resistance to aggressors and tyrants, but it is no less important to strive for a breakthrough in science, innovation, to strengthen digital and green agendas, and thus become truly independent’, said the Prime Minister.

‘Today we celebrate Europe - our true home, where our distinctive qualities only serve to bolster us, and diversity thrives in unison. The valiant Ukrainians, with their heroic acts and unwavering determination, are standing guard against the scourge of Russian imperialism that has descended upon their land, with its barbarity and inhumanity that run counter to all notions of civilization. This places a solemn responsibility on each and every one of us to cherish and defend Europe, right here and right now, with all the resources and capabilities at our disposal,’ said Prime Minister in conclusion.

Address by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė at the ceremony celebrating Europe Day on 9 May 2023