Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova

President of the Republic of Croatia Delivered Lecture at the Trinity College

As part of her state visit to Ireland, the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic delivered a lecture at the prestigious Trinity College on the topic “European Unity in Search of Resilience: Views From the 28th Entrant.” „The European Union celebrated its 60th anniversary in turbulent times in which it must find new ways to enhance its unity, to regain the support and confidence of citizens and to ensure overall security,“ said the President. “Such a noteworthy anniversary always calls for reflection, particularly so if it takes place during such turbulent and challenging times. There are questions we need to find answers to and I strongly believe that we must work together to find new ways to enhance our unity, to regain the support and confidence of our citizens and to ensure overall security,” she said. „During the 60-year-long European project, a robust economy has been built that benefited hundreds of millions of people across the continent,“ she added. “However, lulled by this relative prosperity, today’s generations often easily forget the greatest achievements of the European Union: peace, freedom, democracy, equality, human rights,” President Grabar-Kitarovic stated. She assessed that it is easy to overlook the freedom the Union brought to Spain, Portugal or Greece, or forget the strong desire of the people behind the Iron Curtain to be a part of Europe. “That desire guided and invigorated our fight for democracy and liberation. Coming from a country which remembers far too well the war that it had to endure to achieve its independence and self-determination, means that we appreciate the peace, freedom, prosperity and stability embodied by the EU,” she indicated. The President believes that the European Union is facing the biggest and most far-reaching challenge, expressing “deep regrets” over the decision on Brexit and warning of a rise in populism and new walls that are being erected. “We know too well what this means: people on both sides of the wall suffer. National borders can be walls or they can be bridges. The European project is a bridge that unites us in all our diversity. For this reason we need to protect it and cherish it,” she stated. She believes that the instincts that led Europeans to undertake this “monumental project” of unity 60 years ago are still present. She expressed conviction that Croatia as a new Member State can turn its lack of experience in the inner workings of the Union into an advantage. “I believe that we cannot address new problems with old solutions and Croatia brings a fresh pair of eyes to the table. Our so-called “inexperience” is an advantage, it is what makes us more able to think outside of the box,” said President Grabar-Kitarovic. She emphasized “unwavering commitment” to the endurance of the European project and its inevitable but successful evolution. She reminded that one of the greatest strengths of the European Union is that each Member State has a voice and warned that we must avoid creating “second-class” members. If the idea of the European Union embodying several speeds comes to pass, “it must not be based on the principle of exclusion.” “In this sense, too, we as Members must strive towards resilient unity – unity in protecting equal rights of all its members and unity in not allowing different classes of EU membership to take root,” said President Grabar-Kitarovic. The enlargement of the EU is one of our most important achievements, saying that if we want to fully consolidate Europe and achieve stability, security and development, South East Europe has to be incorporated. “With the integration of South East Europe, the European Union will not be enlarged, but complete and consolidated. It is not enough that South East Europe periodically stays on the radar. It must become a priority,” concluded the President. President Grabar-Kitarovic delivered a lecture to students, faculty and ambassadors at the university which was established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 in the buildings of the dissolved Augustine Priory of All Hallows, after the model of Oxford and Cambridge (Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia; Photo Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Filip Glas).

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