EU Council president advocates for “dialogue” and against “violence” before Spanish king
Donald Tusk noted that dialogue "is always better than conflict"
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.
“But we never gave up on a few simple principles: that violence doesn't solve anything, that dialogue is always better than conflict”
Donald Tusk · President of the European Union council
The "rule of law"
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the “rule of law” is the strength of the European Union. He said that “Its power is based on the rule of law, it is this that protects us and allows us to live together in a harmonious coexistence," he added.
In his speech, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, defended the EU as a “Peace” project that shows its benefits every day. Juncker said that previous generations “opposed the stupidity of the force of arms with the force of law,” which he described as a “fundamental principle of the European Union.” “It is the rule of law that offers us a space that protects us, that allows us to live together, that allows us to work together, which allows us, ultimately, to breathe together, in a harmonious coexistence and in respect of (our) differences,” he remarked.
Juncker voiced his admiration for King Juan Carlos in favoring the integration of Spain into the EU, and congratulated King Felipe VI for “following the same path.” Juncker noted that, nowadays,” the world changes at an incredible” and “surprising” speed” but that it is necessary to “keep in mind” that Europe “continues to be the best protection against the dramas of the past” and offers “tranquility and serenity.” According to Juncker, the EU “is not perfect” but “with patience and determination” it will improve “with great ambition.”
The "fruit of a community of law"
President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, warned that “the value of consensus” is a “good” that should not be put at risk and has stated that “the agreement is to have a hand extended to “understanding.”
The Italian official stated that if the EU is a “success” it is because it is the fruit of “a community of law.” “Europeans no longer negotiate at gunpoint: we do it around a table and negotiate according to the rules agreed by all parties. We make a dialogue within the framework of the law,” he said.
Tajani has said that “there is no need for a European police force to enforce judicial sentences” because “when the Court of Justice issues a ruling, it is applied, and it is already.” “While some deliberately ignore the laws, I think we must remind ourselves of the importance of respecting the rule of law.”