From war to peace: a European tale
Other historic moments underlined this. The people of Portugal, Spain and Greece celebrating the democratic revolution and freedom. This same joy was experienced later in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Baltic States.
The quest for freedom and democracy made possible the reunification of the continent. The European Union has become our common house. The "homeland of our homelands", as Vaclav Havel called it.
The founding fathers understood that to guarantee peace in the 20th century nations needed to think beyond the nation-state. The uniqueness of the European project is to have combined the legitimacy of democratic States with the legitimacy of supranational institutions that protect the general European interest.
Our quest for European unity is not an end in itself, but a means to higher ends. It attests to the quest for a cosmopolitan order. Despite its imperfections, the European Union is a powerful inspiration for many around the world. Beyond our nation, beyond our continent, we are all part of one mankind.
The concrete engagement of the European Union in the world is marked by our continent's tragic experience of extreme nationalism, wars and the absolute evil of the Shoah. It is inspired by our desire to avoid the same mistakes being made again.
That is the foundation of our multilateral approach and our relations with international partners; defining our stance against the death penalty and our support for international justice; our leadership in the fight against climate change and for food and energy security, and our policies on disarmament and against nuclear proliferation.
As a continent that went from devastation to become one of the world's strongest economies, we have a special responsibility to millions of people in need. As a community of nations that has fought totalitarianism, we will always stand by those who are in pursuit of peace and justice, democracy and human dignity.
Our thoughts go to the human rights' defenders all over the world who put their lives at risk to defend the values that we cherish. No prison wall can silence their voice.
As a Union built on the founding value of equality between women and men, we are committed to protecting women's rights all over the world. We cherish the fundamental rights the most vulnerable: the children of this world.
The "pacification of Europe" was at the heart of Alfred Nobel's concerns. In an early version of his will, he even equated it to international peace. Over the past sixty years, the European Union has shown that it is possible for peoples and nations to come together across borders.
Our continent, risen from the ashes after 1945 and united in 1989, has a great capacity to reinvent itself. It is to the next generations to take this common adventure further. We hope they will seize this responsibility with pride. And that they will be able to say, as we in Oslo: I am proud to be European.