On the occasion of Europe Day on 9 May, I would like to review the results and advances achieved by Europe in the past 12 months.
Last May, the Greek debt crisis was at its height and was creating significant threats to the euro and the future of European construction.
Once again, with its back to the wall, Europe succeeded in mobilizing its resources and inventing the necessary tools to meet the challenge. It created a European Financial Stability Facility, which will give way in 2013 to a permanent mechanism to help Member States who need it. It also tackled the roots of the crisis, taking on governance and the Euro Area: the reworking of the Stability Pact, the adoption of the European “semester” and the negotiation of the Euro-Plus Pact aimed at re-establishing the economic pillar of Economic and Monetary Union that has been missing these past 10 years.
Externally, the past year saw the establishment of the European External Action Service: the Council decision establishing the organization and operation of the EEAS was adopted by the Council of European Foreign Ministers on 26 July 2010, following lengthy negotiations conducted by Mrs Ashton with Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament. Recruitment began in autumn 2010 with the appointment of our compatriot Pierre Vimont as Secretary-General. The EEAS officially entered into service on 1 December 2010. The creation of this new institution just a year after the Lisbon Treaty came into force is indeed a sign that Europe is moving forward and wants to create the means collectively to influence changes in the world.
Europe is moving forward, it is preserving its place in the world, it is responding to the aspirations of our fellow citizens and protecting them. Happy Europe Day!./.