Britain’s Queen Elizabeth delivered a speech at a state banquet at the Bellevue Palace in the German capital Berlin on Wednesday, urging Europe to guard against division as European Union leaders deal with the Greek debt crisis and the United Kingdom pushes for reform.
During her wide-range speech the queen directly spoke to her host, German President Joachim Gauck. “In our lives, Mr President, we have seen the worst, but also the best of our continent. We have witnessed how quickly things can change for the better,” she said.
“But we know that we must work hard to maintain the benefits of the postwar world,” added the queen who witnessed World War II.
“We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the west as well as in the east of our continent.”
In response to the queen’s speech, the German president also briefly spoke on the importance of Britain’s presence within the European Union.
Gauck stated that a stable foundation of values will form an effective European Union and also mentioned the importance of dialogue during the EU reform process.
“A constructive dialogue on the reforms Britain wants to see is therefore essential,” said the German president.
“As a good partner, Germany will support this dialogue. For Britain is part of Europe. The European Union needs Britain,” added Gauck.
The queen’s speech came a day before the EU summit, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium, on June 25 and 26.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also attended the banquet at the Bellevue Palace, before heading to Brussels for the summit.
The EU is currently grappling a wide range of problems such as the Russia-Ukraine crisis in Europe’s east, Greece’s debt talks, the United Kingdom's push for reforms before an EU in/out referendum and the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
However, according to the agenda of the EU Council published on the official website of the Council of the European Union, EU leaders will be extensively discussing the migration issue, including the relocation, resettlement and return policy as well as the Greek debt crisis.