They add that “the worst economic crisis in two generations is causing great hardship among our people, and putting the political bonds of our Union to the test” but express confidence in the future: “We are working hard to overcome the difficulties, to restore growth and jobs. We are confident we will succeed.”
As EU leaders gathered in Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr Barroso described the award as “an honour and a humbling experience”. He said that since its initial incarnation with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951, establishing its forerunner the European Coal and Steel Community, the EU has brought “lasting peace between former enemies who fought many devastating wars on the continent including two world wars.”
Mr Barroso also emphasised that the EU “brings lasting freedom, justice and democracy for 500 million people, including for so many that lived under dictatorship and totalitarian regimes. And it does so in a unique manner: by creating a political system that brings us together across national borders in a supranational community through the sharing of sovereignty.”
Mr Barroso outlined these points in a BBC “Hardtalk” interview given in Oslo yesterday in which he called for Europe to honour the Nobel award by leading a global peace drive and maintaining vigilance against the "old demons" of extreme nationalism and xenophobia, which tend to rise to the surface in times of struggle.
Full joint address to the ceremony