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2012 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: you can count on Europe

Presidents Van Romuy, Barroso and Schulz © EU

In a speech jointly delivered by Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy, President Barroso said "My message today is: You can count on our efforts to fight for lasting peace, freedom and justice in Europe and in the world."

President Barroso opened his part of the acceptance speech by recalling powerful memories of milestones in Europe's reunification into peace: of being in the mass of people in 1974 in Portugal, thronging the streets to celebrate the democratic revolution and freedom; being in Berlin in 1989 when Rostropovich played Bach at the fallen Berlin Wall. "Several generations of Europeans have shown again and again that their choice for Europe was also a choice for freedom," he said.

But the struggle for peace doesn't stop there. President Barroso quoted Baruch Spinoza "Peace is not mere absence of war, it is a virtue."

Within Europe, this means continuing a remarkable European journey which is leading to an 'ever closer Union', including one of the most visible symbols of unity which is in everyone's hands - the Euro, the currency of our European Union. "We will stand by it," said President Barroso.

"The uniqueness of the European project is to have combined the legitimacy of democratic states with the legitimacy of supranational institutions," he continued. The quest for European unity is not a perfect work of art; it is still work in progress that demands constant and diligent tending. Nevertheless "the European Union can be, and indeed is, a powerful inspiration for many around the world".

Outside Europe, this means continuing to pursue the twin principles global solidarity and global responsibility. "As a community of nations that has overcome war and fought totalitarianism, we will always stand by those who are in pursuit of peace and human dignity," said President Barroso.

He stressed the moral duty of the international community to address the current situation in Syria and paid tribute to human rights' defenders all over the world who put their lives at risk to defend the values that Europe cherishes. "No prison wall can silence their voice. We hear them in this room today," he said.

"My message today is: you can count on our efforts to fight for lasting peace, freedom and justice in Europe and in the world," concluded President Barroso.

Read the entire joint speech

Watch the speech (part 1 – President Van Rompuy)

Watch the speech (part 2 – President Barroso)

Extracts from the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Read President Barroso's remarks at the press conference on Sunday 9 December

Watch video from the press conference

Inter-institutional website on the Nobel Peace Prize

Information for the press

Wrap-up VIDEO: 2012 Nobel Peace Prize events (extracts from arrival, ceremony, speech and side events)