Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window




Address by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner


Thanks Dimitrij, on behalf of all of us, for your excellent Presidency.

Your most obvious merit will have been to put an end to the artificial division between the "new Member States" and the former ones. You were the first "new Member State" to chair the EU Council and you did it successfully for six months in a spirit of balance and efficiency. After you, there will be no more new and old Member States, you have six months experience, my Presidency is still to come and today, I feel "newer" than you are! I hope you will give me some recipes.

I would like to congratulate you on your Presidency: you defended the European values, interests, and policies around the world with efficiency, in all conflicts and in all regions: the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America with an impressive EU-LAC Summit. You chaired the annual EU-US Summit with PM Janša, and you will chair the upcoming Summit with Russia. I would also like to congratulate you on unlocking the negotiation mandate for the future EU-Russia agreement, which had been blocked for more than two years.

The Slovenian Presidency also reflects your personal touch, and I can see it in "the Balkans". What an image to see, in the country of Tito's birth, the family of Balkan countries including Serbs and newly independent Kosovo reunited in peace during the Gymnich meeting in Brdo. Who would have believed this 10 years ago, when I was last in Kosovo? Kosovo's independence in February and Serbia's path towards democracy and Europe is our collective success achieved under your efficient leadership.

Let me add my personal touch by thanking you particularly for the launching of the ESDP mission in Chad, the largest one the EU has ever undertaken. The Union may be proud of it; this is the image we have to give to our citizens, who sometimes wonder about the meaning of our project.

Thank you also for putting forward the defence of human rights. I know this is a personal cause stemming from your personal experience (and your fight against Communism). Thank you for your endeavours to set up guidelines on the rights of children in armed conflict.

Finally, I would also like to thank you for your readiness to be there for each and every one of us during these six months. The EU-27 is complex, but you tried to simplify it. I appreciate your commitment and the fact that we could always reach you when we needed you. I fondly remember the convivial atmosphere during our pleasant evening in Bled during the Gymnich meeting.

Thank you for your dedicated efforts.


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 20.06.2008