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Working together ‘to shape a common future’

May 10,2015 - Last updated at May 10,2015

“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”

Those were the very first words Robert Schuman uttered in the declaration of May 9, 1950, as he called on the nations of Europe to unite and make war on our continent impossible.

His message, enjoining building peace together, is as relevant as ever.

Schuman’s appeal to overcome age-old divisions just five years after World War II laid the foundations of what has become the European Union.

Over the years, our union has grown from six members to 28 to become the world’s largest peace project. The dreams of our founding fathers have become a reality.

But peace and prosperity — based on a deep commitment to fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law — cannot be taken for granted. It is a constant work in progress, something that must be nurtured and protected.

As the spectre of war has returned to our continent, our unity continues to be our greatest strength.

When international law is broken and human dignity is treated with contempt, we have a responsibility to stand up to protect the fundamental values and interests that we share with peoples around the world.

The European Union is an everyday peace project. Every member, big and small, old and new has a seat at the table and an equal voice.

Building unity from diversity can be cumbersome, but constant cooperation and patient negotiations lead us to a consensus that is rock solid.

Today this is what we need to achieve globally.

We created the European External Action Service to work with partners around the world — in Africa and the Arab world, in the Americas and in Asia — towards that aim.

Ending war is about overcoming divisions and uniting former enemies. It is also about giving young generations a stake in their future.

This is why we are united in fighting extremism and organised crime, tackling the negative impact of climate change and securing our energy future.

2015 is a special year for the EU as we celebrate the European Year of Development.

This reflects how we work not only to guarantee highest standards of living to our own citizens, but also how we raise global standards so that everybody can drink clear water and breathe clean air, enjoying a high standard of life and quality products.

We also work with partners around the globe to invest in education and innovation to open a world of opportunities even to those who are born into poverty and conflict.

The EU continues to assume a vital role in the world, working for joint fundamental principles to remain strong and solid through development cooperation and political engagement with our partners.

In light of the global economic crisis and the Arab turmoil, the European Union is fully engaged to work with its partners to encourage and enhance peace outside its borders.

The EU is committed to provide long-term support to the transition towards sustainable democracy and inclusive growth.

A good example is Jordan, where our partnership goes beyond the bilateral cooperation and financial assistance.

The Kingdom, which enjoys an advanced status with the EU since 2010, has gone through various agreements that are of mutual interest.

We are not only neighbours, but also long-lasting partners that strive for a better future.

And here, I vividly recall the words of His Majesty King Abdullah in his recent address to the European Parliament: “Our regions, our people, can find no better partners and neighbours than each other. Together, we can create pillars of mutual respect that will support the common good for generations to come.”

I cannot agree more. Our partnership and relations with the Kingdom will always be in our mutual interest, illustrating the common ground through which the EU and Jordan are linked.

Just like the Kingdom, the EU continues to support all its partners in the region and the world, aiming to enhance stability and peace.

Because the European Union is a project for the future, we celebrate Europe day to remember, but also to look ahead. And this is what we should be focusing on: world peace, as Schuman said in his declaration.

The anniversary of the Schuman Declaration is an excellent occasion to celebrate how in the EU we have overcome age-old differences to shape a common future.

I hope you will join us around the globe to work with us for a world where people, no matter who they are or where they live, are free to shape their existence and strive for their dreams. 

The writer is ambassador of the European Union to Jordan. She contributed this article to The Jordan Times. 

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