Namibia celebrates Europe Day (10/05/2012)
Senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as representatives from the media, private and civil society sectors joined the EU Delegation to Namibia in celebrating Europe Day at the EU residence in Windhoek yesterday.
Speaking at the occasion, Head of Delegation, Ambassador Raúl Fuentes Milani noted that Europe Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the values of peace, freedom, prosperity and working together.
He described the European Union as a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries which expands from economic governance to foreign policy, the environment, development and trade.
Ambassador Fuentes Milani noted that 2012 has been a challenging year for Europe, with the continent confronting a financial and economic crisis unprecedented in European Union history.
"But the bases of the European economy remain strong. Europe remains the first trading area in the world and the first development partner. We know that together we are better suited to confront these challenges and we will be welcoming a new Member State, Croatia, in July."
He added that the Union will remain actively engaged around the world. "Europe has always been outward looking and open. We believe that our international activity can help underpin our economic recovery and we believe that our foreign policy, based on values, can help solve global problems. The building up of the European External Action Service since 1 January 2011 will make sure that we can deliver comprehensive solutions on the ground, be it in Somalia or Afghanistan."
Commenting on the EU's partnership with Namibia, he noted that their relationship has been strengthened over the past year, referring to a political dialogue meeting in March where they were able discuss issues of common interest such human rights, regional cooperation, and current developments in Africa.
Additional support of N$200 million in 2011 increased bilateral assistance to N$1.3 billion dollars for the period 2009-2014. This allowed the EU to support the roadmap on maternal health and child mortality; as well as reinforce the rural development programme. A special reserve was mobilized in order to address, with a medium-term view, the impact of the floods by improving the road infrastructure and camp management. While education, rural development, water and sanitation, governance and support to civil society remain the EU's main areas of engagement.
The EU also remains Namibia's second trading partner, after South Africa, and according to Ambassador Fuentes Milani, the EU is committed to preserving these trade flows.
"We believe this will be best achieved by setting this relation in a stable, fair and mutually agreed framework, and we are working together with our Namibian counterparts to ensure that all concerns are rightly addressed."
He expressed his gratitude to EU Member State representatives in Namibia: Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Portugal and Finland for their continued friendship and support.
"Member States are the backbone of the European Union, the source of finance and political guidance. I truly believe that our work in Namibia shows that together we are more than the sum of each one of us," he said.
EU Delegation to Namibia Press and Information Officer