By Staff Reporter : PNG Today
European Union marks 60 years of the Rome Treaties : European Union and Papua New Guinea celebrate 40 years of partnership
On 25th March the European Union will mark 60 years since the signature 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.
European Union Ambassador H.E. Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos said: "At the time
European Union is celebrating 60 years, we are celebrating 40 years of European Union and
Papua New Guinea partnership. Over these years, our cooperation has evolved beyond
development cooperation. And we share a more holistic approach by enlarging this
partnership in areas like political cooperation, trade cooperation, economic cooperation and
exchanges of people to people contact."
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
The EU is the second 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 Organization, 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, for 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. EU development aid goes to around 150 countries in the world and increasingly
focuses on the poorest places in the world. In the period 2014-2020, about 75% of EU support
will go to countries which are often hard hit by natural disasters or conflict, something that
makes their citizens particularly vulnerable. In 2016 the EU allocated relief assistance of over
€1.5 billion for food, shelter, protection and healthcare to 120 million people in over 80
The main instrument for providing European Union assistance for development cooperation is
the European Development Fund (EDF). The EU contribution to Papua New Guinea's
development efforts amounts circa 650 million Kina for the period 2014-2020. It focuses on
three main areas: rural economic development, human resources development and water
supply and sanitation.
The EDF is financed by direct contributions from all European Union countries. Therefore
France and United Kingdom, represented in Papua New Guinea, as well as all other nonrepresented
European Union countries also assist towards the creation of a more inclusive and
prosperous society for all Papua New Guineans.
Summarising 40 years of EU-PNG partnership, EU Ambassador said: "The European Union
has provided scholarships to train some 900 primary school teachers, of which at least 50%
female, who will be ready to be deployed in remote areas. Thus, it will assist with the
Government' priority of education for all.
Another example, a small plot holder of a cash crop such as cocoa, coffee and copra will have
since the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA), see a bigger return on the
sale of the price of their produce to middlemen/suppliers/producers of products destined for
the European Union markets as a result of concessions to export tax.
But these are just very recent examples, 40 years of continuous cooperation have supported
the water supply of hundreds of villages in rural areas, the rehabilitation and upgrading of
hundreds of kilometres of roads, improving mobility and accessibility to markets, health
centres and schools, and the primary, secondary and tertiary education of two generations of
Papua New Guineans – to still; name but a few."
Whatever events may bring in the future, one thing is certain: the EU will continue to put
promoting international peace and security, development cooperation, human rights and
responding to humanitarian crises at the heart of its foreign and security policies.