It is a great honour for me to represent the European Union in Malawi and to be working for a continued strengthening of our relations. Our recent political dialogue meetings and the audience you granted in June to the largest ever representation of EU Ambassadors in Malawi are a testimony to this vibrant relationship.
The excellent relations between the EU and Malawi are founded on shared values of democracy and pluralism, a belief in rules-based and effective multilateralism as the basis for a co-operative approach to international relations, upholding the values and principles of the UN Charter.
This is of particular relevance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has demonstrated that no country or region should stand alone, and emphasized the importance of a multilateral consensus on major issues, a reality which will remain with us well beyond the end of the pandemic.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on a number of responsibilities which you are taking, on behalf of Malawi, on the international scene: as SADC since last month, aschair of the UN Least Developed Countries group, and as a member of the UN Human Rights Council.
Meanwhile, I look forward to further building on our collaboration to tackle global challenges and achieve common goals, particularly in the sectors of green and resilient economic transformation, democratic and economic governance, and human development and social inclusion, all areas where we have much to gain by partnering and working together. These themes are central in your Malawi 2063 Vision, but they are also priorities of our new multiannual development programme which we built in close consultation with your government and ministries.
Despite our differences, there is much more that brings Europe and Malawi together than what divides us: this is what makes our partnership so precious. We both want to see the end of child marriage and gender-based violence. We both envisage a bright future for Malawi as a land-linked country, fully integrated into the regional trade and transportation fabric. We both aspire for persons with albinism, disabled persons, the elderly and all Malawians to live in a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous society. Finally, we both see the potential and challenges of a young population, of dynamic demographics, not just for the job market but also for Malawi’s natural resources.
Over the next few years I shall aspire to further strengthen our well-established partnership, but also to explore new avenues for cooperation with the Malawian Government, based on our shared values, principles and interests.
Finally, Your Excellency, I would like to take this opportunity to express our admiration for the determination you have shown and are still showing in tackling corruption in Malawi, starting with the public sector. Rest assured that you have the EU’s full support in this endeavour and that your success is key to a possible future resumption of budget support from the EU.
I look forward to discovering Malawi’s riches during my stay and to experience the famed hospitality of the warm heart of Africa.