As Guyana joined the rest of the world in celebration of Europe Day, which is being observed today, President David Granger lauded the strong partnership framework that the country has enjoyed with the European Union (EU) and which has seen cooperation in areas such as agriculture, health, education, housing, sea and river defence infrastructural development, the sugar industry and security.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency, speaking at a cocktail reception at the Georgetown Club last evening, the Head of State said that Guyana looks forward to Europe’s continued support in advancing the ‘green’ state development agenda.
“Guyana values the cooperation it enjoys with the European Union. The 11th European Development Fund identified climate change adaptation and risk-reduction as priority areas for cooperation. Guyana welcomes Europe’s assistance in enhancing capacity for climate adaptation and resilience,” President Granger said.
The ‘green’ state agenda is consistent with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and EU Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Jernej Videtic assured that Europe stands ready to work with Guyana bilaterally and multilaterally in this area to support the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) as set out in the latter.
Speaking of economic cooperation, President Granger said that Guyana’s exports depend on access to Europe’s markets and as such, the country looks forward to increased European investments. “This Europe Day celebration is a re-affirmation not only of the integration process in one continent but, also, an acknowledgement of the value of that process in other continents of the world,” he said.
The President also added that Guyana looks forward to a post-2020 partnership between the African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) and the EU and expressed the hope that negotiations on the post-Cotonou ACP-EU relations will produce an enhanced framework for development assistance, economic relations and political cooperation.
Ambassador Videtic said that the EU is pleased that Guyana has taken the lead in the post-Cotonou discussions, which will set the terms of the future relationship between the EU and the ACP group of countries.
He also noted that the EU is grateful for Guyana’s commendable diplomacy and stewardship at the level of CARICOM.
He informed that this year alone, Guyana and the EU signed two important contracts, one of which is for a project that will provide protective services for people at risk of suicide and the other to help protect the rights of Indigenous communities. Moreover, the EU has provided $2.4B to Guyana to improve its sea and river defence as well as $5.5B to help the local sugar industry improve its competitiveness and or diversify its operations. A seaport cooperation programme was also launched, which will train and equip inter-agency units to identify, search and interdict all forms of illicit maritime trafficking.
Europe Day is annually observed on May 9. It is a celebration of peace and unity in Europe. This year, Europe also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which founded the European Economic Commission, which essentially laid the foundation for what is today the EU.