Ambassador speaks on Zim, EU relations

Source: Ambassador speaks on Zim, EU relations -Newsday Zimbabwe

EUROPEAN Union ambassador to  Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann, shared milestones achieved since he came into office a year ago during the Europe Day commemorations recently.

NewsDay Life & Style was in conversation with the bloc’s top diplomat.

 

 

Highlights from the main speech

When we celebrate Europe Day. We are actually reminded of the peace project. Over 70 years ago the foundation of the European Union was laid on the 9th of May 1950 just a couple of years after World War 2.

EU members were fighting each other and over 75 million people lost their lives. Since then we had peace and it is for this reason in 2012 the EU got the Noble Prize for peace. What a success story.

Having peace as the foundation of the European Union. We cannot close our eyes to the multiple conflicts in the world. On Ukraine, we do not accept the Russian attack on the country’s sovereignty.

 

 

Europe is committed to democratic elections and the forthcoming elections this June will continue to grow the legacy of unity in diversity of the European States in peace building and economic prosperity.

Europe has 24 languages and we have learnt to embrace our diversity. United in the spirit of Team Europe. Diversity is our strength, unity is our power.

Role of journalists and the media

 

I admit that it is true that most of what the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe and EU member States is doing is not yet fully known. Zimbabwe has a young population which is much easier to reach. That is why we are launching our Global Gateway Campaign Silami, Tinemi and EU with you which has a fantastic song and our idea is to work closely with the artistes who have a heart for climate change and gender equality. Culture and arts are fantastic vehicles in communicating and entertaining through transmitting shared values between Zimbabwe and the EU.

Partnerships and diplomatic representation

Our diplomatic representation here, NGOs and the corporate world means that we have a good partnership and we are working together in education, green energy, health and infrastructural development because we are rehabilitating the Kariba Dam with many partners from the corporate world.

Views on El-Nino-induced drought

We have provided some additional humanitarian assistance. We are building resilience. It is not the first time we have had a drought in Zimbabwe. The situation is very sad and it is not the first time and as EU we consider it as a matter of urgency.

All member States have projects that are related to drought relief. Team Europe has in excess of €200m reserved for drought relief and smart agriculture.  Sixty million euros have already been reserved for drought relief and humanitarian aid. We have a long-term agreement and our funding should also look at other supporting activities.

Trade between Europe and Zimbabwe

We have a trade agreement and very frequently we realise that there is a lack of access to information on the part of traders and investors to EU that they can import and export to EU duty and tariff free. Zimbabwe has been empowered to protect its own market for the export of poultry, dairy, machinery and resources duty free. Media plays a crucial role in making interested parties knowledgeable. There has been a significant increase over the years.

Health

We are arguably one of the biggest contributors towards health sector with approximately US$130 million channelled to that sector per annum.

Kariba Dam

The Kariba Dam project is one of our biggest rehabilitation projects. It is a high technology project which has engaged all EU member States.

Elections in Europe

The elections in Europe will see over 400 million people voting. They are the second biggest democratic elections in the world which will enable the election of several European commissioners.

Zimbabwe and its foreign debt

I will be very humble. I have been an ambassador here for a bit over a year. Only the Zimbabweans know what is best for Zimbabweans. We as a partner we can decide what to follow or not follow. People share only where there are shared values or shared interests. When we worked together on gender the government had a plan already, a plan for Zimbabwe and for the good of the country.

United in diversity

EU has no common language and instead we have 24 languages. What we have learnt in the history of EU is that we should not focus on what divides people but concentrate on uniting people. Our motto United in Diversity accepts that we are different people who speak different languages but should have a common understanding which should lead to peace and democracy. It is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and we share the same motto.

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