(Reception on the Occasion of Europe Day, Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv)
Your Excellency, Mr. Dimiter Tzantchev, Ambassador of the European Union to the State of Israel,
Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Missions in Israel,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am most pleased to represent the Government and the people of Israel in congratulating the representatives of the E.U. on the occasion of Europe Day and the adoption of the Schumann Declaration on the ninth of May, 1950 when the erection of the European Coal and Steel Community was declared – a process which eventually ended up in the creation of the European Union. The Schumann Declaration serves as a symbol, to this very day, of the power, the vision and the determination of the human spirit.
Both the European Union and Israel are founded on common values such as peace, democracy, rule of law and the sanctity of human life. These values run deep and form an important part of both our shared cultures and traditions. All these elements, put together, make and sustain the deep, rich and longstanding relations between Israel and Europe.
Israel’s achievements in entrepreneurship and innovation in the fields of science, cyber, digital, issues dealing with climate change and grappling with the COVID pandemic, have made it a key partner for the EU, in fact, its closest partner, supplementing its own capabilities.
This partnership between the EU and Israel is now celebrating its 65th year, and every year just makes this partnership stronger and deeper.
As an expression of the strong cooperation, an association agreement was signed this year for the ninth R&D program, “Horizon Europe”, a very ambitious plan of the EU with a budget showing just how serious this program is. At the moment, we are looking ahead towards joining additional programs in other areas, such as culture and more.
Israel has much to contribute to the European Union and we look forward to further developing the cooperation in facing the shared challenges that stand before us. We must work together in order to maximize our joint potentials while at the same time finding a way to manage our sometimes differing perspectives on various issues.
And there is no better way to do this than by convening the association council that will bestow an identity of values and culture to the cooperation and help give expression to the political elements of the relationship.
In this context, we are happy to see the renewal of high-level visits that are expected to take place over the next few months.
And in another context, the EU can also aid in realizing cooperation with the countries with which Israel shares peace agreements and normalization – in the areas of transportation, energy and many more.
And before I conclude, I must mention the issue of antisemitism as well… this is another area in which we share this challenge, not only to the lives of Jews throughout Europe but to the core values of the European Community itself. There is no room for compromise in this battle. We appreciate the commitment of European nations in their fight against this repulsive phenomenon as expressed by their adoption of a strategy to combat antisemitism and develop Jewish life throughout the continent.
Mr. Ambassador, I will conclude by once again, on behalf of the Government and the People of Israel, congratulating the E.U. on the occasion of Europe Day and the adoption of the Schumann Declaration. May the E.U. continue to realize its vision and compound its achievements, and may the ties of friendship and cooperation between the E.U and Israel continue to flourish in the years ahead.