May 9 is a Europe Day. Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea prepared an article on this day which Mediamax publishes on exclusive basis.
Europe Day – the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration - is a wonderful occasion to celebrate how in the EU we have overcome age old differences to shape a common future. On 9 May 1950 Robert Schuman called for unification of Europe to make war on the continent impossible and spread peace and prosperity globally.
Around the globe, whether in Cairo, Kiev or Yerevan, people want what we have in the EU: personal rights and freedoms, democratic governance, rule of law, a strong and vibrant civil society and a decent living.
Recent events in Ukraine show that we cannot 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 that go to the streets to call for it.
We created a European External Action Service to ensure that when we speak, our voice is heard. And when we engage, our actions make a difference. Our citizens know that in the face of big problems such as fragile states, pandemics, energy security, climate change and migration, we are more effective together.
Over the past years we have built a diplomatic service for the 21st century. Through its work, the EU has become a truly global player, able to promote its values and interests around the world. We have made human rights the silver thread that runs through EU foreign policy, assisting democratic transitions around the globe and helping oppressed minorities, social groups and NGOs to voice their concerns.
The EU also has an important role to play in bringing together partners around the world to achieve lasting peace and stability. The EU's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton leads the talks between the EU 3+3 (Germany, France and the United Kingdom as well as U.S., China and Russia) with Iran. They resulted in an interim agreement on Iran's nuclear programme last November - a crucial step towards making this world a safer and more secure place.
In crises around the world, the EU adopts a comprehensive approach that combines all the tools at our disposal: diplomatic, developmental, military and economic. This allows us to address not just the symptoms, but also the causes of the problems we face.
Take the Horn of Africa, where thanks to a combination of political dialogue with the government of Somalia, our naval mission ATALANTA, and targeted development aid and humanitarian assistance, piracy has been reduced by 95%. Today the young boys that manned pirate ships go to school and learn the skills that will help them lead their country towards a more prosperous future.
2014 is a special year for the EU. Ten years ago ten 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 club; a testament to the continuing attraction of closer ties to the EU.
This year is also special for European citizens. From 22-25 May voters will go to the polls to cast their ballot in the elections to 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.
Sixty four years ago Robert Schuman took a decisive step towards what we know as the European Union (EU) today. 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 and promote peace and prosperity at home and in the world.