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COMMENT: 60 years of the Rome Treaties

Europe looks back with pride and looks forward with hope

By: EU envoys

The European Union will on 25th March mark 60 years since the signing of the Rome Treaties, the first step towards a united Europe. Since the birth of the European Communities in 1957, the citizens of our Member States have enjoyed six decades of unprecedented peace, prosperity, and security. The contrast to the first half of the 20th Century could not be greater. Two catastrophic wars in Europe between 1914 and 1945 left millions dead and a continent devastated, divided, and prostrate. For countries that had long been at war, European integration has been the most successful peace project in our history.

However, we are living in unpredictable times and the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties is the opportunity not only to reaffirm our commitment to the values and objectives on which the European project is founded but also to take pragmatic and ambitious steps forward.

The EU’s partnership with Uganda has deepened since formal relations started in 1976. The EU and its Member States in Uganda continue to partner on governance and human rights cooperation, human development, economic cooperation and security, foreign and regional policy, refugees and global issues such as climate change and demography.

The world is going through a time of great uncertainty: the global balance of power is shifting and the foundations of a rules-based international order are too often being questioned. The European Union will be an increasingly vital power to preserve and strengthen the global order.

The EU is the second largest global economy. We are the largest global market and the leading foreign investor in most parts of the globe. The EU has achieved a strong position by acting together with one voice on the global stage, by playing a key role in removing barriers to trade as a member of the World Trade Organisation, as well as concluding bilateral trade deals with many important partners around the world – such as the recent CETA deal with Canada. This allowed EU exporting firms to flourish and create over 30 million jobs.

We invest more in development cooperation and humanitarian aid than the rest of the world combined. The EU is increasingly active as a global security provider. The European Union is and will continue to be a strong, cooperative and reliable power. Our partners know what we stand for. We stand for multilateralism, for human rights, and international cooperation.

We stand for sustainable development, inclusive societies, the fight against all inequalities – in education, in democracy, and human rights. For us, this is not charity: it is also a smart investment in our own security and prosperity.

The European Union is the world’s largest financial donor of development aid. We were instrumental in planning the UN Sustainable Development Goals and are already implementing them as well as working to update the European Consensus on Development Policy. The EU development aid goes to around 150 countries in the world and increasingly focuses on the poorest places in the world.

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