Vanuatu and the EU

Europe Day: solidarity and partnership in times of Covid-19

09/05/2020 - 09:00
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After having lost it all in devastating conflict, six European nations turned to cooperation. Today 9 May, Europe Day, marks the 70th anniversary of the 'Schuman declaration' by which the then French Foreign Minister, proposed the creation of a supranational institution pooling coal and steel production, also the essential ingredients of weaponry and warfare. This declaration and the subsequent treaties have ultimately led to what we know now as the European Union with 27 Member States.

The idea of cooperation, the bedrock of the European Union's edifice, has continuously inspired the concrete achievements in the European construction and created a de facto solidarity among nations. This founding idea of cooperation and solidarity is ever so needed, now that the world grapples with an unprecedented health, social and economic crisis as a consequence of the novel coronavirus. It is in the same spirit of solidarity that the nations of the European Union are now helping to tackle the crisis not only at home but also abroad, because for as long as the virus is not eradicated everywhere, it will remain a threat to all of us.

That is why the European Union and its Member States have developed an aid package to support our partner countries, in particular in our sister continent Africa, in their response to the COVID-19 crisis, with a special emphasis on the most vulnerable groups in society. This 'Team Europe' package of over EUR 20 billion (more than 16 trillion Malawi Kwacha) combines resources from EU Member States, from EU financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank, and from existing EU programmes. For Malawi over EUR 50 million (more than 40 billion Malawi Kwacha) will be dedicated to supporting the national response, in particular for strengthening the health system, increasing social protection, ensuring food and nutrition security, and assisting economic recovery.

EU Member States and institutions are committed, even beyond the letter of our treaties, to co-operate and contribute to make sustainable development with social inclusion, good governance and respect for human rights, a reality for all Malawians. As such the EU and its Member States have been investing in the sustainable development of Malawi for over 40 years. It has been and will continue to be a reliable and committed partner with a solid track record of supporting sustainable growth, in particular in the agricultural sector, social protection, education, justice and good governance in the public sector. In all of its actions the EU give a high priority to the inclusion of women and girls and improving their access to health, education and economic opportunities, and promotes their active participation in governance structures.

We do this in true partnership with the people of Malawi and its institutions. Our focus on partnership implies that we want to go beyond the traditional development dynamics and champion the values and principles that bring us and Malawi closer together. As a partner in development we also acknowledge that one cannot do it all alone and agree that together we can achieve more. As the African saying goes: "If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together". In sum, we are #StrongerTogether.

Solidarity and partnership are the pillars of our long-standing presence in Malawi. On Europe Day we would like to extend our gratitude to all those with whom we have the privilege to work on a daily basis to make Malawi and the world a fairer, safer, greener and more prosperous place. 

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