Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Sam Kutesa joined a host of local and international dignitaries, including presidential candidates who contested in Uganda's February 2016 general elections, to celebrate Europe Day 2016 at a colourful reception hosted at his residence by the European Union Head of Delegation to the Republic of Uganda, H.E Ambassador Kristian Schmidt.
In his address, Ambassador Schmidt told his guests that Europe celebrates the vision of living together in peace through political cooperation, integrated economies and shared values. Speaking of the unfolding migration crisis, he recognised the challenges facing Europe: “We're not perfect. We know it. And we know you know it. The risk is right in front of us: A Europe old, tired and scared, in the hands of populists. … We have a lot of work to do – we know – to honour our values, our heritage and our international obligations.”
"Europe believes in multilateralism. We are not 'neo-colonialists'. The majority of 28 EU Member States have no colonial history whatsoever. We have no imperialist agenda. In fact, many of our Member States liberated themselves from Soviet imperialism less than three decades ago," he said. "We simply accept that many of the challenges facing our planet cannot be solved alone, not even by the most powerful nations. We welcome scrutiny on whether we are doing our part, and whether we do it well."
Ambassador Schmidt said Europe seeks a partnership with Uganda built on mutual trust and commitment to shared values. "As your friends, our only hope is to see you succeed! We seek a strong partnership with a stable and truly democratic Uganda. Our support will be for courageous policy change," he said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa presented the Government's commendation for Europe's continued support to Uganda's growth including peace and security efforts on the African continent. He also offered the Government of Uganda's assurances of a commitment to democratic reforms, noting that Uganda is still a growing democracy and not without imperfection.
See Ambassador Schmidt's speech in full here .