The Minister of National Defence Dimitris Avramopoulos participated as a keynote speaker in an international Conference about the future of Europe, which was held in Boston by the Harvard University and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University.
In the conference participated also, among others, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition, Joaquin Almunia, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, Vesna Pusic, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassilliou and the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and now Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, James Stavridis.
In his speech, though he referred to the ideological base which resulted in the conception of the vision of a United Europe, to “the eradication of the fundamental causes of war”, Mr. Avramopoulos also spoke about “a new form of divide which, on the one hand, separates Europe into a sphere of progress and, on the other hand, into a sphere of debt, a divide which does not only cancel the idea of a common European home and negate the principle of social cohesion, but above all it threatens democracy in Europe".
“The growth of extremism, populism and in some countries of fascism is the embodiment of this threat”, the Minister of National Defence added.
He mainly stressed that “the challenge for Europe is now purely political” and he characterised this challenge as “critical for global stability”. Among others, he stressed that “the challenge is now to build the political edifice that will be the ‘grand-child’ of a historical necessity which emerges from the acknowledgement that nation states cannot deliver by themselves anymore what they promise to their citizens. A Europe that will be the off-spring of a new political realism that will demand 21st century solutions, instead of 20th century dogmas”.
During his speech, he set as a prerequisite “a new European roadmap leading to the historically inevitable, the foundation of the so-called European State, which will primarily aim at empowering Europe’s position and influence in the world”. “It was not the European ideal that failed and led to the crisis, but the lack of political will and vision. Europe did not fail. Nation states and their political elites failed”, as he concluded.
About the recent developments in Ukraine, Mr. Avramopoulos stressed that “Our common goal should be a free, democratic and indivisible Ukraine. A Ukraine that will in practice unite the Euro-Atlantic world with Russia”. “At this critical hour, diplomacy must prevail. Our enemies are extremism and unilateralism which undermine everything we have built in the post-cold war. Historical wisdom must be our guide”, he concluded.