Today we mark the 25th anniversary of the European Economic Area, which has opened up new opportunities and means of cooperation for its now 31 members. Over these years - together with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - we have worked as a family, building a better Europe for all our citizens.
And we can be proud of this achievement. The EEA brings us together as equal partners in the internal market, giving access to its four freedoms: of goods, persons, services and capital. It also delivers in other major areas, like research, technological development, environment and culture. Today, within the EEA, more than 500 million people are free to move and travel, to do business and invest with ease, to receive an education, conduct cutting-edge research abroad, while enjoying the safest consumer protections, the highest standards at work and the cleanest environment. We have accomplished this through shared pragmatism, and in a spirit of neighbourly cooperation. And we should never take this for granted.
The EEA Agreement is not a short-term transaction, but a long-term partnership, where everyone contributes, and everyone benefits. In a world of resurgent nationalism and authoritarianism, in which geopolitical tensions create real threats to our citizens, you have stood firmly on the side of wisdom, the rule of law, cooperation and deeper integration among our nations. I would like to thank you for this today.