The President of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, during his speech at the XXV anniversary commemorative event of Spain and Portugal's Treaty of Accession to the European Economic Community, in the Royal Palace. EFE
The calls to respond to the current crisis and to the challenges of a globalised world by strengthening Europe even more, marked the speeches of both the King of Spain and the President of the Spanish Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, as well as the speeches by other personalities who participated in the commemorative events for the entry of Spain and Portugal into the European communities.
The challenges and opportunities of globalisation “need a more perfect and demanding Union”, said Zapatero in the speech he gave at the commemorative event held in the Royal Palace in Madrid.
He had previously remarked on the “vital decisions” that a united Europe had taken since the accession of Spain and Portugal. . “None of those advances -he said - had been easy, none were left unquestioned”.
He predicted that “the same will happen now”, but that “the economic coordination and the shared efforts will find their way forward in the end. And on this occasion, as on previous occasions in which Europe has felt vertigo before taking a new step forward, Spain will help the Union to take that step”.
He continued by arguing that “the endeavours that the States are being asked for is not new. From a Spanish viewpoint, throughout these 25 years, considerable efforts have had to be made” in terms of reorganisation. “And it has always been worth it . Always.”, he said.
He remarked that, “if at the beginning of our Presidency (Spanish Presidency of the EU) some people doubted the convenience of a greater and more rigorous coordination of economic policies, today the tide of events has led us to joint actions of a scope that was unimaginable not long ago”.
King Juan Carlos, in the speech that closed the event, affirmed that “if thanks to the European Union we have made progress and overcome other difficult moments, today we must all once again provide the leadership and energy necessary to assure that Europe has the power and the voice that it deserves in the face of the challenges and crises of our global world”.
“Faith in the future of Europe is our destiny, it is also our commitment and it will be our greatest legacy for the generations to come”, he concluded.
The man who was president of the Spanish government at the time of the accession, Felipe González, made a plea for a strong Europe: “Today, immersed in crisis, we believe more than ever that Europe is the solution”.
He stressed that it was not about changing the European model, but adapting it, and he explained that this model could inflluence the process of globalisation. “Europe is a supranational region that sets global trends” and it is also an example for social cohesion.
Other speakers at the invent included the present Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates, the former Prime Minister of 25 years ago, Mario Soares, and the Presidents of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, and the European Commission, José Manuel Duráo Barroso.
Referring to the speeches heard today in Madrid and at an earlier event in Lisbon, Busek affirmed that “the messages are very similar ” and that “we have a responsibility to the generations to come”.
He evoked the efforts made by Spain in the process of integration. “Imagine what an important sign it was that you joined the EU -said Busek- who was a union member of Solidarity in Poland - it shows that reforms are useful for something”.
Barroso, who spoke in Spanish, said that Spain “had played a central role in Europe, proof of which are “the achievements made by the Spanish Presidency (of the EU), the “boost given at a difficult moment by new institutions coming into force”.
There were also demonstrations of gratitude to the people responsible for the accession, including Mario Soares who did not hesitate to express his hope that some day there would be a European government.