EU Council president advocates for “dialogue” and against “violence” before Spanish king

Donald Tusk noted that dialogue "is always better than conflict"

Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, and Antonio Tajani at the event for the Princess of Asturias Award of Concordia 2017
Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, and Antonio Tajani at the event for the Princess of Asturias Award of Concordia 2017 / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 21, 2017 03:21 PM

Donald Tusk, president of European Union Council spoke in presence of the King and Queen of Spain and the Spanish president Mariano Rajoy in the Spanish town of Oviedo. He spoke in acceptance of the Princess of Asturias Award of Concordia 2017 on behalf of the European Union along with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament.

The award was a symbol of contribution to providing the "longest period of peace in modern Europe" and for spreading "values such as freedom, human rights and solidarity,” according to a press release by the European Union. It was presented to the officials on the evening of Friday October 20.

“The truth is invincible”

In his speech, president of the European Union Council Donald Tusk asserted that “violence doesn’t solve anything” and that dialogue “is always better than conflict.” He noted this when recalling his time fighting for freedom in Poland, when he was young. He also praised the idea of “concord,” drawing parallels to the concept of “unity,” but warned that “there is no genuine concord without truth.”

Tusk’s speech was very personal, touching on his boyhood days and the inspirations that formed him. Indeed, another one of the prize recipients, his Polish compatriot, poet Adam Zagajewski, marked him as a very young boy. “I was still a student when I read his brilliant poem about censorship, in the time of the Communist dictatorship in Poland. Together with my friends, we printed this poem in our illegal printing house in several hundred copies,” he recalled.

For Tusk and indeed his generation, he said, the poet became “a symbol of the freedom of speech, of the independence of thought,” and reaffirmed that his and his peers’ “longing for Europe” although “not in the geographical sense, but in political, intellectual and axiologial” ways. The President of the European Council recalled his participation in the “Solidarity” movement, “along with millions of compatriots,” and the poet himself.  

He describes his time during the movement, alluding to the current situation in Catalonia: “We were beaten, thrown to jail, forced to go on exile. But we never gave up on a few simple principles: that violence doesn't solve anything, that dialogue is always better than conflict, that law should be respected by all the actors of the public life, and that harmony is better than chaos.”

“In many parts of the world, people feel that they are surrounded by lies, manipulations and fake news. But I deeply believe that the truth is invincible,” he remarked.