Text of the Video Message of President Barroso
VIDEO MESSAGE -
CATHOLIC SOCIAL DAYS FOR EUROPE
(GDANSK 8-11 OCTOBER 2009)
I would like first to express my gratitude for the invitation to join you in Gdansk today. Unfortunately, urgent commitments prevent me from being present. However, on my personal behalf and on behalf of the European Commission as a whole, I want to express the deep appreciation for this important initiative and extend a strong message of sympathy and encouragement for your work.
The intention behind your Catholic Social Days is particularly significant for us all, Europeans. Your topic, solidarity, and the city you chose for your gathering, Gdansk, remind us of the chain of events that radically changed Central and Eastern Europe two decades ago.
I wish thus to pay tribute to the very special part that Poland and its people played in that process. Lech Walesa and the Solidarnosc movement dared to challenge the totalitarian regime and showed to the world how powerful the aspiration for freedom and democracy can be. Likewise, I want to pay special tribute to the memory of John Paul II. His vision and courage contributed decisively to the beginning of the end of Europe's division and to the peaceful reunification of our continent.
Your initiative wishes also to commemorate one of Europe's darkest hours, the outbreak of the Second World War. Seventy years after the tragic events of September 1939, our obligation is never to forget the great sacrifices that were made, and the many victims of that terrible war. The European Union was born because Europeans wanted to ensure that such a tragedy would never be possible on our continent. And we are grateful that this was made possible in the last 50 years.
Seventy years after the beginning of World War II and 20 years after the end of the cold war peace, freedom, justice and solidarity are and will remain the key references of the enlarged European Union of 27 member states. This is particularly important today because the challenges we have been facing during the last months are not just an economic and financial crisis; they are first and foremost an ethical crisis. This crisis is in the end about values.
And when the fundamental values are called into question, it's time to remember that the EU is a "Union of values" - this Europe is not only about the efficiency of the markets and economic growth; our Europe is about directing the economic activity towards the pursuit of the common good; our Europe is about putting the human being, each human being and the whole human being, at the heart of our policies.
It is therefore gratifying for me, as President of the European Commission and on a personal level, to see your commitment in pursuit of solidarity and justice. The European integration is only possible as a joint endeavour; it needs therefore its citizens' involvement, your active involvement and participation.
I commend you for convening these Social Days for Europe and wish you all much success.
José Manuel Barroso