We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Jonathan Fryer's Speak up Europe speech

January 17, 2007 11:02 AM

Here is a synopsis of a speech given by Jonathan Fryer, London Representative on the LDEG Executive and London Euro-candidate 2004, at the 'Speak Up, Europe!' launch at the London Press Club on 11 January 2007.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, it is all too easy for Europeans to take peace for granted. Yet making war between any two EU member states inconceivable is perhaps the greatest achievement of the European venture. But I believe that we should use this anniversary year to look forward, not back. And to look outwards, not inwards, at the challenges facing us.

In our neighbourhood, there are areas of recent or current conflict, in the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East, in which Europe has and will have a role to play, as a force for peace in the world. My work as a journalist has taken me repeatedly to the Middle East over the past couple of years. And the message in countries there such as Jordan and Lebanon has been loud and clear: 'Speak Up, Europe! Don't leave it to the United States! Because there will not be a just peace if you do.'

Similarly, the EU has huge potential as a force for development in the world. As a legacy of the colonial past, the EU has special aid and trade relationships with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which need to be strengthened. But we also need to make the Euro-Med dialogue and the Barcelona process more effective in bringing economic and social development, including employment opportunities, to the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, we should build on the historic links that Spain and Portugal have with Latin America to extend cooperation there. Last month, I was lecturing in Uruguay, and once again, the message was loud and clear: 'Speak Up, Europe! Don't leave it to the United States! You are our natural partner.'

Lastly, Europe should act as a force for justice and good governance in the world, working with governments, NGOs and citizens of countries in transition from totalitarian regimes. Our own systems are not perfect, but we have a lot to teach and a lot to learn.

None of this will happen, however, without the firm commitment of the governments of the EU member states. Many people on the doorstep tell me, 'Oh, Europe's ground to a halt, hasn't it?' In fact, it hasn't - and we are entering what I believe will be a particularly exciting period in which Europe can prove itself as a force for Good.