Speech by Ambassador Tomas Szunyog, Head of the EU Office and EU Special Representative in Kosovo, delivered during the Europe Day reception in Pristina on 9 May 2022.
Të nderuar miq dhe partnerë, dragi prijatelji i partneri, dear friends and partners, thank you for joining us today to celebrate Europe Day.
The 9th of May celebrates the unity and shared destiny of our Union and our partners in the Western Balkans.
In this sprit, this year we want to pay tribute to the many Europeans who helped us get through the coronavirus crisis, and who are working every day to maintain peace and prosperity in Europe.
It was Robert Schuman who said: Europe needs a soul, an ideal, and the political will to serve this ideal.
The EU has brought those words to life, confronting united the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current Russian aggression against Ukraine.
In these challenging times, I want to thank the Government of Kosovo for their decisive alignment with EU sanctions, and disposition to host Ukrainian refugees and journalists.
One of them, Ms Lyudmila Makey, is here with us today, and I would like to extend to her our warmest welcome, and express our solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
I want to highlight that this day belongs to all of us.
This day belongs to Kosovans as much as it belongs to EU citizens, and it represents the celebration of our common values, including unity, solidarity, peace, democracy, rule of law, and the respect for human rights.
These are not hollow words, but fundamental values shared by all the peoples of Europe, that have brought to our continent prosperity never seen before in our history.
The future of Kosovo is in the EU. We have no alternative but to continue moving forward on the European path of this region.
The EU will not be complete without the Western Balkans, and in the light of the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, our joint efforts to advance on the European path of Kosovo and the Western Balkans are now more important than ever.
I am proud of the achievements that Kosovo has accomplished with the support of the European Union and our Member States, and I can express with confidence that regardless of any challenges, EU solidarity will never diminish, and the EU will continue to be the closest partner to Kosovo, as it is now.
Kosovo can continue to count on our support, but we also need Kosovo´s cooperation and commitment to continue to make progress on its European path.
Rule of law is the foundation of a healthy democratic society. Together with the protection and promotion of human rights of all communities, it needs to remain a priority for Kosovo institutions.
I will conclude here by wishing you a happy Europe Day! Srećan dan Evrope! Gëzuar Ditën e Evropës!
This month of May, we will celebrate the European Union and its achievements with a series of seminars, art shows and workshops open for everyone.
I hope you will join us for some of these activities and I look forward to continuing to work with all our partners for the benefit of Kosovo.