Europe Day this year marks the 71st anniversary of the Declaration made by the formerFrench Foreign Minister and statesman, Robert Schuman, on 9th May 1950, which set in motion the creation of what we all know today as the European Union (EU). The words of this great statesman still resonate today and his approach has and will continue to pave the way for future achievements for Europe.
"Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity," Schuman cautioned. Indeed, some seven decades later, it is this principle of “solidarity” which remains at the core of the European Union. Solidarity amongst its member states, and solidarity with the rest of the world!
Europe Day allows EU citizens to celebrate the realities of life in a European Union based on the principles of the rule of law, democracy, justice, respect for human rights and dignity, and solidarity. It is a Union that espouses a democratic order founded on popular sovereignty and on values that are now accepted and shared not only by the vast majority of European people but by the rest of the world. This special occasion is an opportunity for Europeans to reflect on the historic event that took place so many years ago and to highlight the importance of kindling and preserving the European spirit that is so crucial in today’s political climate and international discourse.
I would like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Government and people of Seychelles, and on my own behalf, our sincere gratitude to the European Union and to the people of its constituent states for the unique and invaluable partnership that we have shared during the last 44 years.
Through its Delegation based in Mauritius, the EU plays an important role in the region in bringing together partners to achieve lasting peace, stability and sustainable development, promoting, in the process, democracy, human rights and the rule of law – values to which Seychelles remains committed and which are enshrined in our Constitution.
The involvement of the EU in regional security through initiatives such as the European Union Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR), the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and theMaritime Security (MASE) programme has contributed directly to suppressing emerging threats in the Indian Ocean. “Oceanum Indicum in Pace” remains our watchword, inspiring and motivating us to work jointly to transform the Indian Ocean into a haven of peace, non-adversarial competition, cooperation and development.
The spectrum of our cooperation with the European Union is vast and multi-faceted, covering such important sectors as fisheries, climate change, energy, the environment, infrastructure, capacity building, trade and human rights, to name a few. It demonstrates our mutual willingness and desire to work together towards achieving our common objectives within the ambit of a well-balanced, beneficial and durable partnership. As a result of this win-win partnership, Seychelles has made significant strides over the years, projecting us in the high human development category.
We are confident that we can enhance and intensify this partnership further with the European Union. Indeed, given the political will and commitment on both sides, we continue to engage actively in this process.
I wish all Europeans a happy Europe Day!