REMARKS BY MR CHARLES STUART, CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES a.i. OF THE EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO TANZANIA
ON THE OCCASION OF EUROPE DAY 2019
EU RESIDENCE Thursday, 09 May 2019
Hon Dr. Damas Ndumbaro, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, and our Chief Guest tonight;
Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Dear Representatives of Government and Public Institutions;
Dear Representatives of International Organizations;
Dear Representatives of Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organizations;
Dear Business leaders and representatives of business and industry;
Dear Members of the Academic Community;
Dear members of the press;
Dear friends and colleagues;
Mabibi na Mabwana, (Ladies and Gentlemen)
Habari za Jioni. Karibuni sana katika Maadhimisho ya Sikukuu ya Umoja wa Ulaya! (Good evening. Welcome to the Europe Day celebrations!)
I would like to start though not only with thanks to you for your participation this evening but also a reminder of why it is we are all here together tonight.
This is the 62nd year since the signing of the Treaty of Rome that established the Union we know today, and 69 years since the signing of the Schuman Declaration that set in motion a series of initiatives resulting in the formation of today’s global powerhouse. This year also marks 44 years since the European Union began its strong partnership with the United Republic of Tanzania.
62 is an interesting age (as is 44). Given that my age lies somewhere in between the two, I consider myself able to say with some authority that it is the age of self-confidence and maturity. It’s also the age when you can afford to look back on what you’ve built and what you’ve achieved. It is also the age that you start to look to the future and wonder what lies ahead with the benefit of wisdom.
This is what we, as the European Union are doing today as we contemplate our future not only amongst ourselves but also with our partners. Many focus on the challenges facing the Union today. I believe sincerely that, despite those challenges, we have many opportunities both today and in the coming years.
I believe that this partnership we have with Tanzania and its partners in the East African Community is precisely the kind of opportunity we have together to promote peace, prosperity, integration and security. These agendas are precisely what the European Union embodies.
Umoja wetu ndio nguvu yetu (Our unity is our strength)
We have built 62 years of peace after exporting many years of war. The power of our experience as the European Union still is very strong in all the countries of our region from Portugal in the west to the Balkans and Baltic States in the East. From Cyprus and Malta in the South to Sweden and Finland in the north. Here today in Tanzania, you have twelve of those 28 Member States represented whose Ambassadors stand beside me tonight.
From the outside, the European Union is the most successful peace project ever, winning itself the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2012. It also remains the most powerful actor supporting the agenda of the United Nations. The European Union both as an institution and including its member states is the first humanitarian donor worldwide. Together with its Member States, it is the first investor in development cooperation, the first provider of peace and security, the first sponsor of most multilateral agreements and we keep focussed on implementation because we believe multilateralism is the way forward.
We have built our 62 years of peace on human rights, rule of law and economic opportunity thanks to the principles our founding fathers and mothers enshrined all those years ago. They realised that growth and prosperity came not through killing one another but through cooperation and respect for each other.
In geopolitical terms it started out of something very simple. 9th of May marks the day in 1950 when the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed pooling control of the coal and steel resources that had contributed to conflict between the European countries. Mr Schuman's proposal launched a process of European integration, first in the economy, and then in many other areas that has brought the Member States of the European Union unprecedented peace and prosperity.
Out of that of course, we managed to build a powerful political, economic and social cohesion. European integration has succeeded not only due to interaction between governments, but also cooperation between people through trade, investment, education and culture.
In the 21st century, these links - the transport, digital and energy networks, the rules and practices to make them work and the people-to-people links they create – we understand as connectivity.
Of course, it has its challenges and will continue to do so. But those that said it was the beginning of the end have been proven wrong. Today, we realise that the European Union is what we, as Europeans need. Europe’s beauty is implicit in its diversity. It’s an effective way of operating in a globalised world.
The European Union serves as a body, just as the United Nations, that seeks common ground in the name of justice, equality, dignity and rights for all citizens. We value human beings, their rights and we value peace. We value democracy and freedom. The freedom to talk. The freedom to share. The freedom to connect.
Europe and Africa have close historical, cultural and geographical ties. Here in Tanzania, you can count on the partnership of the European Union not through charity but because we seek common goals, the same goals that many friends from all over the world assembled here also strive to achieve: poverty eradication, sustainable development and integration into the world economy.
Umvushapo mwenzio nawe unavuka. (When you help someone across, you also cross)
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we have displayed on the screens before you, a glimpse of EU-Tanzania partnership in different areas: Human Rights and Governance, Energy, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Public Finance management, Climate Change mitigation, as well as cross-cutting issues such empowerment of women and youth.
Together with its Member States, we continue to stand in solidarity with Tanzania in ensuring that the country attains its vision of 2025 under these five main attributes: High quality livelihood; peace, stability and unity; good governance; a well-educated and learning society; and a competitive economy capable of producing sustainable growth and shared benefits.
All these five attributes have been at the centre of the partnership between Tanzania and the European Union, together with its Member States, since that partnership began.
Our trade and economic relations are maturing and are inspired by mutual interests. Investments are coupled with transfer of knowledge; trade acknowledges that markets are growing in Africa and are not only a source of raw materials but also trade and investment that pursue diversification, added value, and regional integration.
69 years ago, we started as a small group and we have grown and we will likely continue to grow. This is not about enlargement but merely consolidation of our commitment to one another. As we contemplate our own future, we think too of our cooperation with our partners as they evolve too.
In Europe, our Union continues to strive to preserve what it is our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sought to build. It is this energy to forge the FUTURE that should be uniting us even more than just celebrating the past.
It is with this same spirit that we look to our partners to cement and bind our destinies, our values and our interests. I believe we have true cause to celebrate the 44 years of partnership with the United Republic of Tanzania and it is my sincerest hope and belief that the best is yet to come. There have been difficult times but I believe that with knowledge, wisdom, positive energy and respect, you can count on us every step of the way.
I’d like to take this opportunity in closing to thank those of you assembled here for your continued commitment to striving to preserve peace and to reduce the prospects for conflict at all levels. Language, culture, humour, ambitions and perceptions can lead to misunderstandings. It’s those misperceptions that often drive our decision-making, sadly all too often in the wrong direction. Good partnerships are based on respect, trust and the ability to engage with one another in a polite, courteous, appreciative and considerate manner. Sometimes, as partners, we don’t always see eye to eye but that’s not always such a bad thing provided the mechanisms exist to understand one another’s point of view.
Nia zikiwa moja, kilicho mbali huja (With the same spirit, even what seems impossible is made possible)
I’d like to express my gratitude for the support and guidance of those Member States Ambassadors here who have helped me personally and to my wife, Dr. Ellen Stuart who has supported me during our time here.
All of you participating in tonight's reception play a key role in the connectivity between the EU, Tanzania and its people.
Pamoja tutafanikiwa! (Together we will succeed)
Asanteni sana (Thank you very much)