By : Heba Abdel Fattah
Europe Day was celebrated today in Cairo; marking the Schuman Declaration which paved the way to European integration. Senior Egyptian officials and influential figures from various spectrums of the society, and the diplomatic community participated in the event, organised by the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt.
On 9 May 1950, French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed a joint authority to oversee French and German production of coal and steel, launching an ambitious project , which has shaped the course of European history and redefined Europe's place in the world.
Ambassador of the EU to Egypt Ivan Surkoš said that 9 May is an occasion to highlight peace, unity, and prosperity in Europe. "In today's world, the European Union is more indispensable than ever, and that is why we understand the need to work on strengthening our Union."
In 2017, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a roadmap detailing the main steps towards a more united, stronger and more democratic Union. Leaders of the European Union Member States agreed on a Leaders' Agenda – a list of the most pressing issues and challenges for which solutions should be found, ahead of the European elections in 2019. "On 9 May 2019 at a summit in Romania, our leaders are expected to mark the culmination of this process with a renewed commitment to an EU that delivers on the issues that really matter to people," Ambassador Surkoš stated.
Underlining the importance of having strong, stable neighbors, Mr. Surkoš pointed out that "my neighbor's strength is my strength. We believe this in the EU and we apply it in our external relations. Egypt is our most important neighbor in the Southern Neighborhood and we have strategic relations that have developed considerably over the years."
Egypt and the EU jointly agreed on three priorities for their partnership until 2020, including: a) working towards Egypt's sustainable modern economy and social development, b) cooperating in foreign policy, and c) enhancing stability. The Egyptian and European authorities maintain a high-level dialogue as regards the implementation of these priorities.
Giving an example to show the extensive partnership between the EU and Egypt, Ambassador Surkoš highlighted the cooperation between both sides in the launch of the first ever Cairo Water Week (CWW) that took place in October 2018. "Our contribution to CWW emanated from our commitment to Egypt's overall sustainable development, especially in the water sector. We were with our Egyptian friends when the idea of CWW came to life and during all the preparations. We celebrated with Egypt its success." He added that he joined Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdelatty on April 14 th to announce the second edition of CWW and the activities that will occur. & quot;We
are confident that our cooperation with Egypt in CWW and in the water sector in general will contribute valuably to the efforts exercised by Egypt to improve its water management and a better quality of life for Egyptians."
The Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt referred in his speech to the first summit at the level of leaders of the EU and its member states and the League of Arab States and its member states, which took place in Sharm Elsheikh in February 2019. "From the EU itself, the representation was at the highest level with Presidents Donald Tusk and Jean- Claude Juncker and the High Representative Federica Mogherini. This shows how much we do value the relations between the EU and the Arab region. Together we are stronger."
During Europe Day event, attendees were entertained with music performances by European and Egyptians bands. Slovak and Romanian bands Ukitas and Amadeus both flew from Europe to perform some of their hits during Europe Day celebration in Egypt.
Egyptian Trio Band and DJ Roro both performed as well.