It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to the new Web site of the European Union Delegation to Malawi.
It is a timely launch, because 2010 celebrates 35 years of trade and development cooperation between the EU and Malawi dating back to the signing of the first Lomé Convention between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States in 1975.
The Web page contains up-to-date information on trade and development cooperation between the EU and Malawi: what the legal framework is, what our main activity areas are, what we have achieved so far, etc. You will find examples of a number of EU-funded projects in Malawi, including case studies and photos. The Web site similarly offers information on EU Aid for Trade and Economic Partnership Agreements, as well as on funding opportunities and visas to enter EU Member States. It is my hope that not least journalists will find the 'All news' section a useful tool.
Cooperation between the EU and the ACP Group of States is today governed mainly by the successor of the Lomé Convention, the Contonou Partnership Agreement, signed between the Parties in 2000, and revised in 2005 and 2010. The Agreement's main objectives are set out in Article 1: to reduce poverty, achieve sustainable development, and gradually integrate the ACP countries into the world economy. The Agreement sets out how this is to be achieved in practice.
Together with its Member States, the EU provides roughly € 300 million annually in development assistance to Malawi, more than any other development partner. The EU market is the main destination for Malawi's exports. With support from the EU and other donors, Malawi has made significant progress towards reaching Millennium Development Goals, including the first goal: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
The Africa-EU partnership is further buttressed by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, signed between the Parties in 2007. The Strategy underlines the need to achieve all Millennium Development Goals by 2015, but it also reinforces the political partnership between the parties. As recently as November 2010, at the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli, a second Joint Action Plan, covering the period 2011–2013, was agreed on. Indeed, as mentioned in the Tripoli Declaration, 'The Partnership between Africa and the European Union is one of the most enduring global relationships and is of strategic importance to both sides'.
Let me mention, finally, that the EU's new Lisbon Treaty has given the Union several new tools to further strengthen its cooperation with Malawi and other partner countries. Notably, EU Delegations around the world are now part of the European External Action Service, they represent the EU in all its affairs, and they are permanent holders of local EU presidencies.
It is my hope that you will find our new Web site useful and informative. It is a living document, however, and I encourage you to contact the EU Delegation to Malawi should you have any suggestions on how we may further improve it.
With my very best regards
Ambassador Alexander Baum, Head of the EU Delegation to Malawi