The European Union Ambassador in Sierra Leone Mr Jean-Pierre Reymonde-Commoy on Friday celebrated Europe Day and the 60th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which marked the first move towards a United Europe.
In his address to the delegates present at the EU’s Leicester Peak Office, the ambassador said he was very happy to receive so many dignitaries as this was the first time he was celebrating this event in Sierra Leone.
Europe Day he explained, started on 9th May 1950 when Robert Schuman proposed new relations between countries, which had almost destroyed each other in dreadful conflicts – a union of Sovereign States that would replace the apparent fatality of war by the logic of cooperation, integration and solidarity.
The ambassador averred that it took long, too many years, millions of deaths to realize the obvious. The diversity does not prevent unity, and traditional enemies have turned into close partners. “We always have much more interests and values in common than pretexts for division.
Ambassador Reymonde-Commoy said peace, democracy and prosperity proved to be much more powerful than the use of force, threat and brutality. European Union has now expanded to 27 countries and, with the end of the divisions imposed on the continent by the iron curtain, reuniting more than 500 million people”.
Mr Reymonde-Commoy further stated that the treaty of Lisbon has enhanced European Union’s capacity to promote its principles abroad: democracy, the rule of law, human rights, human dignity, fundamental freedoms, and the principles of equality and solidarity.
He said these values certainly have a particular appeal in Sierra Leone that has also experienced, through recent history, the dramatic consequences of being deprived from democracy, from human rights and from the rule of law.
According to the ambassador, he said Sierra Leone is now defending and promoting peace and democracy. “Sierra Leone has come a long way from post conflict to economic reconstruction and development. “But, as we are all aware, important challenges remain, and above all, poverty, and its many, too many, obvious faces and dimensions, here.
He said the eradication of poverty is the primary objective of development cooperation under the Treaty of Lisbon, and the European Union will pursue its continuous and close cooperation with Sierra Leone to address several of the main objectives of the country’s Agenda for Change through budgetary aid and support to such areas as good governance, transport, energy, agriculture and the environment.
“The EU is determined to deliver on these commitments and the delegation here will play its full part in close partnership with the government.”
He thanked all the ministers present and hoped for a more robust relationship that will improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
In his own address, the Minister of Information and Communications Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo congratulated the Ambassador and the European Union for celebrating such a wonderful day and hoped the relationship between the two will continue to develop.
He thanked Ambassador Reymonde-Commoy on behalf of President Koroma and promised to work with EU in the development of the country.