EUROPE DAY

European Union Kenya’s most reliable partner

In Summary

• EU provides investment in job creation as well as markets where that investment will deliver products.

• During 2017 drought and 2018 floods, the EU was not just the first to respond with concrete assistance but by far the biggest.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the European Parliament during a debate on The State of the European Union in Strasbourg, France, September 13, 2017.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the European Parliament during a debate on The State of the European Union in Strasbourg, France, September 13, 2017.
Image: REUTERS

When I started my term here in Nairobi, I found we could considerably improve how to engage with the Government of Kenya.

Since then, we have a started a fruitful Political Dialogue which allows for a better understanding of our common goals. We might have been perceived, then, as only a development partner: Today we have a full partnership with Kenya across the board.

 

This is also thanks to the positive developments promoted by Kenya's government to address the considerable challenges it faces in order to promote sustainable development for its young population, free from fear and want.

Over a year ago, after yet another challenging election cycle, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga showed the strength of their vision by putting aside their divergences for the higher interest of the country and its people.

Since then, further progress has been achieved on the road to a paradigm shift in Kenya's history. Their resolve in addressing the cancer of corruption, which eats into their people's prosperity to the selfish advantage of the few, and the considerable improvement in tackling the threat of terrorism and violent extremism, are both encouraging developments which we support wholeheartedly.

World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it
Robert Schuman – Minister of Foreign Affairs of France in 1950

In the increasingly uncertain and fragmenting world of today, the European Union provides a safe shelter for such fundamental values as peace and stability, sustainable development, multilateralism, respect for human dignity, democracy and all of its indivisible fundamental rights.

The world today faces many challenges, from terrorism to climate change. But when problems are shared, solutions are more easily found.

That is why we managed to advance, over the last few years, our relations so consistently and in so many different fields. When Kenyans found themselves in a national emergency because of the 2017 drought and the floods in 2018, the EU showed by facts what it means to be Kenya's most reliable partner: In both instances, we were not just the first to respond with concrete assistance but by far the biggest.

We are also proud to have started a very positive cooperation in supporting Kenya's fight against terrorism and violent extremism, within the successful exercise Kenya has engaged in of increasing the effectiveness of its security response to terrorist threats, while addressing its root causes by engaging at county level with local communities and civil society, throughout the country.

The EU has focused its new Joint Cooperation Strategy on job creation for its youth and for the socioeconomic advance of women, without whose full contribution no society can credibly develop itself.

For the first time ever, last year, all the 19 member states of the EU represented in Kenya converged on a Joint Cooperation Strategy that we launched with the Kenyan government in November to match closely the Big Four agenda.

The EU is Kenya's most reliable international partner in providing, at the same time, investment in job creation as well as the very markets where that investment will be delivering their products.

Last but not least, please do take advantage of the 57 movies we and our Member States have brought to Nairobi for our European Film Festival. You will enjoy a comprehensive tour of Europe without even paying, as every movie is free of charge, for the ticket of the show!

 

EU citizens are facing elections this month, but the European Union as such embodies the daily vote of our member states and our citizens working closer and closer together for the last 62 years, every single day.

The more united we are, the more able we all will be in protecting our sovereignty in a world that is getting smaller every day because of technology and increasing population. And that is becoming every hour more complex and somehow fragmented, where more countries see abrasive criticism of the same multilateralism which binds together Kenya and the EU.

On May 9, 1950, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Robert Schuman, presented his proposal for the first pooling of resources that would establish the European Coal and Steel Community leading, seven years after, to the foundation of what is today the European Union.

In his declaration, which we turned into the Europe Day we celebrate here he gave a compelling reason to justify that course: "World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it". That is the very founding stone our EU rests upon for all of its friends around the world, today more than ever.

EU Ambassador to Kenya