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Europe Day

May 08,2014 - Last updated at May 08,2014

Europe Day — the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration — is a wonderful occasion to celebrate how we, in the EU, have overcome age-old differences to shape a common future.

On May 9, 1950, Robert Schuman called for the unification of Europe to make war on the continent impossible and spread peace and prosperity globally.

Around the globe, whether in Cairo or Kiev, people aspire for the common values that we have adopted in the EU: personal rights and freedoms, democratic governance, rule of law and a decent living.

Recent events in Ukraine show that we should never take these values for granted.

In today’s Europe, we see that democracy is a constant work in progress; we share a responsibility to safeguard and nurture it. And we will stand by those who peacefully call for it.

We created a “European Union diplomacy” to ensure that when we speak, our voice is heard and unified. And when we engage, our actions make a difference.

Our citizens know that in the face of big challenges, such as fragile states, pandemics, energy security, climate change and migration, we are more effective together.

In crises around the world, the EU adopts a comprehensive approach that combines all the tools at our disposal: diplomatic, developmental, humanitarian, security and economic. This allows us to address not just the symptoms, but also the causes of the problems we face.

Take the EU response to the Syrian crisis, where in cooperation with the host countries, we were able, along with member states, to mobilise more than 2.8 billion euros, which is the biggest international contribution, making the EU the largest donor to address the crisis.

Having acknowledged the economic impact of the crisis on host countries, the EU provided Jordan with more than 246 million euros over the last two years, in humanitarian and development aid, in support of the refugees and the host communities.

We will remain dedicated to assisting Jordan in this respect.

I have been honoured to experience firsthand cooperation with an EU privileged partner such as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Jordan has been granted an “advanced status” partnership in recognition of its being a key interlocutor for the EU in the Middle East.

EU-Jordan relations are strong, and were also reflected through His Majesty’s visit in Brussels in December, where — among other issues — the EU and Jordan agreed to start negotiation over a “mobility partnership”. 

This will represent yet another stepping-stone in building further on our strong relations.

This year, we also look forward to the launch of the negotiations to establish a deep and comprehensive free trade area with Jordan that will go beyond removing tariffs to cover all regulatory issues relevant to trade, aiming at improving market access opportunities and the investment climate in the Kingdom, hence serving as a possible economic drive for job growth.

As for political and economic reforms, we will continue to offer our support by all possible means, to support His Majesty’s vision of entrenching democracy in the country.

EU cooperation and financial support have been instrumental in accompanying homegrown reforms.

The European Union has provided Jordan with 314 million euros during 2011-2013 that included 91 million euros as additional funding targeting support for good governance, democratic reforms, civil society and enhanced social justice.

2014 is a further special year for the EU. Ten years ago, 10 new members joined our union. The 2004 enlargement was a crucial step towards overcoming decades of division on our continent.

Since then, three new members have joined our community, a testament to the continued attraction of closer ties with the EU.

This year is also special for European citizens. From May 22 to 25, voters will go to the polls to cast their ballot in the elections for the next European Parliament. This means citizens will have a clear say in what should be the EU’s priorities for the next five years.

Today, Europe Day is an opportunity for all of us to commemorate past achievements, but also to look ahead at how we can shape our European future together, learn from each other’s experience,  and promote a more peaceful and prosperous world — both in Europe and around the globe. 

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

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