Europe Day is a time for the EU to take stock

The union has come a long way since its inception with the Schuman Declaration in 1950

The EU flag is projected on to a helium balloon in Prague during celebrations last year to mark the Czech Republic's presidency of the 27-nation union, which now constitutes the world’s largest trading bloc. Getty
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On May 9 every year, we celebrate Europe Day. This is an important occasion to take stock of the European Union’s achievements and the role it plays in a troubled world facing multiplying challenges.

The EU has come a long way since its inception with the Schuman Declaration in 1950, and Europe Day marks the genesis of the unique political and economic union of the 27 member states that we know today. The EU has grown into a global force for good, constituting the world’s largest trading bloc and top investor, accounting for 15 per cent of global GDP.

With a large network of partners, the EU works to tackle the world's most pressing issues. From driving the green transition and ensuring food and energy security to resolving conflicts and providing humanitarian and development aid, the EU's impact is deeply felt around the world. Despite growing global challenges, the EU remains a beacon of hope, promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law while working towards a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous future for all.

One of the biggest challenges facing humanity today is climate change and its disastrous impacts. As the world’s largest contributor to climate finance, the EU is determined to reduce its own emissions. Following the Paris Agreement, the EU has set the ambitious target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, and reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

To that end, the EU is investing heavily in renewable energy, energy efficiency and decarbonisation. We work closely with our partners on climate action and encourage them to join our efforts. Just a few days ago, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank announced €18 billion ($19.9 billion) of financing to boost climate action in partner countries around the world.

Global challenges necessitate collective action and the EU is keener than ever to work with its partners worldwide to reinforce the fight against climate change and promote sustainable development. We have built a unique partnership with the UAE, our key ally in the Gulf region.

With shared interests revolving around trade, investment, sustainability, energy and security, the EU-UAE partnership has made significant strides. As the UAE gets ready to host Cop28 in November, the EU remains dedicated to working closely with the Emirates to ensure a successful outcome of this critical event.

Global challenges necessitate collective action and the EU is keener than ever to work with its partners worldwide

The EU's commitment to multilateralism and co-operation is critical in addressing global challenges. Our partnerships with other countries and organisations, such as the African Union, the League of Arab States and the GCC, demonstrate our willingness to work with others to achieve common goals.

Renewed global responsibility is needed now more than ever to tackle the most pressing political and economic challenges, climate change, promoting democracy and human rights, and working towards peace and stability. In these uncertain times, we need to work together to build a world that is peaceful, sustainable and prosperous for generations to come.

However, we have witnessed how our efforts to curb climate change can be derailed by instability and conflict. It is indeed difficult to form a united front to save our planet when it is plagued by human-made crises. Russia’s illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine has disrupted global energy markets and fuelled energy and food insecurity across the world. We have worked tirelessly to mitigate the ravaging impacts of this war. We have supported the UN-led Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has spared the world a worsening of the global food crisis by allowing the flow of vital Ukrainian grains to global markets and people in need. Were Russia to pull out of this agreement, the consequences will be dire for many countries in the Middle East and Africa, putting new obstacles in their path towards sustainable development.

The EU will continue to support the Ukrainian people in their right to defend themselves against the Russian aggression, and push back against Moscow’s attempts to undermine the rules-based world order. But the EU’s efforts to preserve peace and security are not only limited to Ukraine. The EU spares neither efforts nor resources to help resolve conflicts, strengthen human security, alleviate suffering and promote sustainable development across the world. Over the past weeks, we have witnessed how the deterioration of stability and security in Sudan has taken a devastating toll on civilians and posed a serious threat to regional stability.

The EU is also extremely concerned about the continuing fighting in Sudan. We have reached out to our partners and called on all sides to immediately allow rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access, to protect civilians and ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. The EU continues to support the provision of immediate relief and first-aid assistance to harmed civilians while supporting all mediation efforts by partner countries and multilateral organisations to bring peace and stability back to Sudan.

After four years in the UAE, I am proud of the partnership that we have built with this innovative and dynamic young nation. I am confident that this partnership will continue to grow because we share the firm belief that only by working hand-in-hand we will be able to tackle the challenges of our times and build a world that is more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous for generations to come.

Published: May 09, 2023, 5:00 AM