“Starting today, we are the guardians of the Treaties, the custodians of the Lisbon spirit. I feel this responsibility. It is a responsibility towards our predecessors, our founding fathers and mothers, and all that they have achieved” said new president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at inauguration event in Museum of European History Brussels on December 1.
“But it is also a responsibility towards our children. The responsibility to leave them a Union that is stronger than the one we have inherited.
“This place (the House of European history) shows the road that has led us here. It shows the treasure that we have inherited. A continent in peace. The liberation from tyranny. A single market with unprecedented economic opportunities. Greater rights and liberties than in any other place in the world.
“It is our duty to preserve this treasure. For me, this is almost personal. You know that my father was there at the very beginning of this European adventure – I might even be in some of the pictures that we see here today. The history of the European project for me is also family history.
“But Europe is not just a treasure we inherit. Europe is a promise. Europe is future. Europe is something that we all have to build – brick by brick, day by day.
“Ten years ago, our predecessors were still discussing whether Europe should have a flag or an anthem. But in these ten years, millions of people have taken to the streets waving the European flag, our flag. And millions have been inspired and moved by the Ode to Joy, our European anthem.
“Europe is changing fast. Our responsibility is to accompany such change. To leave no one behind. To be a champion for our fellow Europeans – with their dreams and aspirations.
The people of Europe have the strength to look towards the future with confidence.