Europe is strong
Joint statement made by the Ambassadors of France, United Kingdom and Germany and the EU Chargé d’affaires.
Europe means peace, a peace for all time for its 28 member states. Europe can also restore peace beyond its own borders. It drew lessons from the tragedy of former Yugoslavia and has the means to be involved in a pragmatic way whenever possible, always in accordance with UN mandates. That is a key “raison d’être” of the European External Action Service (EEAS), led by Baroness Ashton, in consultation with the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
It is worth remembering that Europe has also acted in Asia through its monitoring mission in Aceh which has helped national reconciliation in Indonesia since 2005. It acts frequently in Africa, not only in the Central African Republic in support of MISCA , the African-led International Support Mission there and an operation engaged to put an end to the civil war, but also with the EU Training Mission in Mali, and Operation Atalanta fighting against maritime piracy off the Somali coast. It is also present in Afghanistan, with the EU police operation (EUPOL) and in and around Syria with humanitarian aid to people affected by the conflict.
Europe is currently engaged in Ukraine where our ministers, Mr Fabius, Mr Steinmeier, Mr Hague and Baroness Ashton along with their Polish colleague Mr Sikorski have helped reduce, let’s hope for good, the violence which took more than 80 lives in Kiev.
What are Europe’s tools ? Its democratic model, its respect for liberties and human rights, its experience with integrating peoples living on its soil whatever their languages, cultures, religious or political options provided they conform to European values. Elections for the European Parliament will be held in May 2014. Their outcome will be reflected in a new European Commission and a new President of the Council. It is a further important step towards more democracy in the Union.
Europe is also straightening out its economy. The euro currency now has 18 members from last 1st January. The euro is a hard currency compared to others because it is based on a developed and coherent economy, with a single market established for decades and public finances on the way to recovery. Reforms have been initiated to improve the functioning of the Eurogroup. The Union is also working in international financial fora, on the adoption of policies needed for a more stable and fair system, including in the fight against financial crime (money laundering, tax evasion) which has been undermining it for a long time.
Finally, Europe is more than ever a major partner for the least developed countries. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Europe is the No 1 global provider of ODA, with almost 60 % of the total. In Lao PDR, an average 70 M€ per year is spent by the EU and its member states in the fight against poverty. European business investment, most often in partnership with Lao companies, provides one of the keys to the 8% growth which this country will continue to enjoy.
Provided the human development index progresses accordingly, Lao PDR will be able to graduate from LDC status by 2020. Europe will continue to support.