Ambassador Tombinski: EU offers Ukraine an “engine for modernisation”

Jan Tombinski, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine
Jan Tombinski, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine

Jan Tombinski, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, made a speech on Dec. 10 at the Diplomatic Academy in Kyiv on the occasion of the presentation of the 2012Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union.

Here are the key points of his address:

On war and peace: It took two world wars, both born in Europe and both because of Europe, before Europeans realised that lasting peace requires cooperation based on rule of law and on the principle of equal rights between partners…

On unifying people: From the tragic experience of these wars, Jean Monnet drew the conclusion that the only way to eliminate war as an instrument of policy is to unify people: “Nous ne coalisons pas des Etats, nous unissons des hommes.”

On the EU’s internal transformations. The road from the first foundation of the European Union to the celebration of the Peace Prize, from six founding nations to soon 28 members has not been an easy one. Some European countries had to give up their colonial ambitions, others had to rethink their modus operandi in the changing world, and some had to get rid of authoritarian regimes…

 On integrating Central and Eastern Europe. The will to overthrow the post-war division of Europe and to become a part of the free world was the driving force of the European Autumn of People in 1989… For nations that were allowed to decide freely about their future, the European Union appeared the best way to modernise and adapt to challenges of the future, as well to better protect democracy and the rights of citizens.

On Ukraine’s perspective. The European Union will soon number 28 members and it remains open to other countries willing to share a common destiny and responsibilities. Accession negotiations with Iceland are well advanced, Montenegro is following, and Serbia will come next. I’m strongly convinced that this perspective remains open as well for Ukraine and offers a well-proven engine for modernisation that could harness the enormous potential of this country and its citizens.

On the EU as an “unfinished” project. Building on the past achievements and drawing lessons from failures, the European Union will always remain an unfinished and imperfect construction, as imperfect and defective as its members.

On the EU’s current crisis. Currently the European Union is confronted with many difficulties and tensions, mostly resulting from mistakes previously made. Bearing in mind the experiences of European history, we may nevertheless be happy that attention is focused on debt levels, spreadsheets, and elements of monetary policy and not on movements of military troops on European territory… Our fathers and grandfathers lived through much harder times.

Read more: full text of Tombinski’s speech