Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very happy and honored to join you today in this first forum of the NGOs and I would like to start of course, by expressing my gratitude for our chinese hosts as always very warmly in organizing, receiving guest,s and Minister Song Tao mentioned friendship as the basis of the China relationship with all of us and I have a special and warm feeling regarding China, I have always felt here as among friends and because in China it is said “Where you have friends it is your home” I feel at home in Beijing and I thank you very much for all of this.
I want to state very clearly that the Belt and Road Initiative is not only the greatest, major, initiative in the world today, but it is unfortunately the only one, it is the only one that offers a global vision, a global dream as my previous speaker was saying and this is needed more than ever.
I am coming from the European Union which is struggling everyday with local internal difficulties and disputes, of course we all have followed United States of America as being more focused on its internal problems and internal disputes, have followed like all of you, last month in October, the decisions of the 19th CPC Congress and the fact that One Belt One Road Initiative has been one of the major decision of the CPC Congress, was a very positive message for all of us: from Europe, from Africa, from America and Asia.
Societies which have institutionalized a fear of the “Other” find it difficult to interact with representatives of other cultures and creeds. NGOs have the capacity of bridging this gap. NGOs have the capacity of connecting individuals across the divide of language, religion, identity or skin color. The increased interaction between NGOs can only lead to increased contact between different societies, thereby laying the foundation for mutual trust and understanding, meaningful cooperation and peace. I fully support the ambitious objectives undertaken by the organizers of this event, believing that their fulfillment can usher in a period of stability and respect of a mutually beneficial international order.
Undoubtedly, rebuilding the Silk Road is not an easy task. There are multiple challenges and they originate both in Europe and in Asia. There are many centrifugal tendencies and potential controversial issues. It is for this reason that we need increased international cooperation, a more responsible approach, more stability and predictability. Commerce is progress and it needs stability.
Visionary projects always require courage, determination and, above all, cooperation in order to become reality. I hope we can all be part of the extraordinary effort to make this extraordinary project into reality. Its significance goes beyond trade and economic development: it helps connect different worlds and cultures, promote peace and project a better future together.
I wish you an successful forum and workshops and I am sure that your endeavors will be rewarded accordingly.