Video message by President Charles Michel on the occasion of the EU Med 9 summit in Athens

(Source: European Council)

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you virtually from Brussels.

In a number of your countries this summer was particularly marked by tragic fires, with painful consequences for very many families. And that is the proof that climate change is not something theoretical or virtual, but is very much real, and has serious consequences. In addition to the fires, in recent weeks we’ve seen floods hit a number of countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

Of course, you might think of taking preventive measures to tackle fires, or to tackle flooding. Warning systems can be put in place, we can try to make better plans for our local development and regional development, we can put in place mutual assistance mechanisms. European solidarity came to the fore during these tragic events that affected our citizens.

But when it comes to climate change, to this phenomenon of global warming, to this phenomenon of heat, there is only one solution: we must implement the decision we took together, to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent and implement the measures set out in the Green Deal that are crucial for transforming our economic and social model so that we change our paradigm for prosperity.

It’s a challenge for the planet, it’s a challenge for humanity, it’s a challenge for our generation of Europeans. But it’s also an opportunity, an opportunity to innovate, an opportunity to channel enthusiasm and creativity, to bring together civil societies, the private sector and the younger generations who are very committed to this cause.

And I am absolutely convinced that this shared determination within the European Union will be essential for laying the foundations of a society which can meet this challenge, and overcome it to guarantee prosperity and development.

And finally, we know that the Mediterranean region is potentially the most affected by climate change. But we also know that the Mediterranean represents a lung of biodiversity for the planet, for the world, and represents a key element that is linked to economic development, prosperity and innovation capacities.

And I am absolutely convinced that your discussions today will be the opportunity to harness this ambition to avert the climate threat. This ambition to protect biodiversity, and for us all, working together, in a European framework and in an international framework, to take useful action. I wish you fruitful discussions and exchanges, and will see you soon.

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