What is Europe Day? By Joanna Wronecka (09/05/2012)
You may probably find the 9th of May marked in your diaries or calendars as Europe Day. But what is Europe Day?
Probably very few people know that on 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman read to the international press in Paris a declaration calling on European countries to pool together their coal and steel production as "the first concrete foundation of a European federation". What he proposed was the creation of European Institution, charged with the management of the coal and steel industry, the very sector which was, at that time, the basis of all military power. The European Union, therefore, started it journey on that day.
The project which was begun just after the Second World War is still very new. The ambition is to build a Europe which respects freedom and the identity of its entire people, hence its motto of "United in Diversity". Only by uniting peoples can Europe control the mastery of its destiny and develop a positive role in the world. Every country which democratically chooses to accede to the European Union endorses its fundamental values of peace and solidarity. These values find expression through economic and social development embracing environmental and regional dimensions which are the guarantees of a decent standard of living for all citizens.
These values are also expressed through the humanitarian aid the EU delivers to millions of people affected by natural disasters or conflict across the world every year. Our Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department – better known as ECHO - has for 20 years made sure that the aid reaches the victims directly regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religion.
ECHO is one of the instruments that make us realise that we do not live alone on an island. Reaching out, the EU maintains diplomatic relations with nearly all countries in the world. It has strategic partnerships with key international players, is deeply engaged with emerging powers around the globe, and has signed bilateral Association Agreements with a number of states. Abroad, the Union is represented by a network of EU Delegations, which have a similar function to those of an embassy.
The diplomatic relations between Jordan and the European Community began in 1977; and have progressively grown closer to evolve into the "Advanced Status" partnership in October 2010. This year we mark the 10th anniversary of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement, and the preparatory process for the launch of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) negotiations has already started.
Furthermore, the EU-Jordan Task-Force met for the first time last February sending a strong signal of our commitment to Jordan during this period of important political and economic reforms. The meetings ended with an agreement to provide Jordan with 2.7 billion Euros in assistance and loans, further trade opportunities and investment, enhanced dialogue with the authorities but mostly with the Jordanian people.
Jordan is an important partner, with whom we see eye to eye on many issues. Our relations are very good and are steadily growing even stronger. Jordan is living a moment of transformation and we at the EU want to listen to Jordanians and accompany your country on a new era of relations. I am certain that the future will only reveal positive results that our partnership may bring in this regard.
The Writer is the Ambassador of the EU Delegation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan