Serving a stronger Europe in the world
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May 08,2021 - Last updated at May 08,2021
This 9th of May we celebrate Europe Day,marking the 71stanniversary of the Schuman Declaration that paved the way for our unity and for the second year under the trying circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Europe Day celebrations this year also coincide with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s foreign policy and diplomatic arm. We thus celebrate Europe Day with a special motto: “EU External Action: Serving a stronger Europe in the world”. And this is how we have acted, despite — and perhaps, because of — COVID-19 and its insulating effect; the EU has, in fact, showcased its strength as a
multilateral and a compassionate actor, working as one with its different elements [its institutions, its Member States] and with its partners around the world.
Marking Europe Day is always an occasion for us to reflect on lessons that may be drawn from the European unification project. This is an experience that can certainly be shared with our partner countries in the Southern Neighbourhood, our close neighbours: Turning conflict and competition into cooperation and development. The European architecture, which is founded on democratic values and principles developed over 71 years, offers peace, security, justice and economic prosperity to our citizens. We hope to see these same conditions and values prevail in our neighbouring countries, including Jordan, which has itself entered a key milestone this year, having marked its centennial.
While the EEAS works to promote the European values globally, supports multilateralism, defends and promotes fundamental rights, democratic values and the rule of law, during the past year, the pandemic has inspired us to work hand in hand with the EU Member States and the European Financial Institutions to assume another different, but no less important, role.United, we worked to express our solidarity as “Team Europe”, in support of one another in the face of a pandemic that has affected each and every aspect of our lives, and to support our friends and partners around the world by setting large-scale humanitarian and assistance operations.
Acknowledging the challenging times that we have been living in, the EEAS, the EU Member States and European Financial Institutions have stepped up their support for partner countries to help them navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.While the pandemic has widened divisions, the EU has sought to narrow them by ensuring that our friends and neighbours are given an equitable chance to secure vaccines.Through our support to the development of the COVAX Facility, countries like Jordan have received vaccines to inoculate their populations, including refugees — a gesture admired and acknowledged globally.
We have also come together to help ease, as much as possible, the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, supporting governments in their effortto strikea balance between preserving people’s lives, while maintaining livelihoods. In Jordan, Team Europe has provided additional funding to help mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, with direct support to the state budget, as well as technical cooperation and support to the four pillars of the response to the crisis: Health, social protection, education and economic recovery.
Under difficult COVID-19 conditions, the Brussels Conference on the future of Syria and the Region took place virtually in March, which was more than a donor’s conference.It was an opportunity to put the spotlight on Syria10 years after the start of the crisis, stress the need for urgent progress in the political processas set out in UNSCR 2254, and recognise the role of refugee hosting countries and support their efforts.
This year, we celebrate Europe Day more united than ever in our commitment to face COVID-19 and its devastating impact on world economies and societies together. Welook forward to thenext 10 years of a more successful cooperation, under different,more positive circumstances.
What is also certain is that the past year has demonstrated how Europe can stand united, whilst also extending a helping hand to its friends and neighbours.
Happy Europe Day!
Maria Hadjitheodosiou is the ambassador to the EU in Jordan. She contributed this article to The Jordan Times
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