H.E Brigadier David Granger: Your Excellency, Ambassador and Madam; Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ministers of the Government, special invitees, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen: The Cooperative Republic of Guyana extends congratulations to His Excellency, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; to His Excellency, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission; to the member states and to the peoples of the European Union on the occasion of Europe Day, the 9th May 2016.
Guyana is pleased to join the delegation of the European Union in the commemoration of this important day and in the celebration of peace and unity in Europe. Europe Day is an acknowledgement of the importance of integration in Europe.
The Schuman Declaration of 9th May, 1950 proposed the means of creating common economic interest that would act as a break in conflict between the countries of the continent and that would be a step towards the integration of Europe. The European Union evolved from this process; it inspired regional integration efforts in other parts of the world after the end of the Second World War. It initiated a successful integration mechanism, notwithstanding its challenges.
Excellency, European integration also has been an instrument for deepening and widening cooperation with countries and other regions of the world. The European Union and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana forged a special bond four decades ago, beginning with the historic Georgetown Agreement of 1975, an agreement initiated right here in Georgetown.
Guyana along with other newly independent and emerging States of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific now known as the ACP group of States became signatories to the Lome Convention. The agreement and the convention opened a new chapter in trade relations between the ACP and the EU.
Excellency, the European Union is one of Guyana’s main trading partners. Guyana exported goods valued at Euros 192 million or about 15% of Guyana’s exports to the European Union in 2013 alone.
Guyana’s imports from the EU were valued at 122 million Euros. Guyana has been a beneficiary of cooperation with the European Union as you have seen in the exhibition on your way upstairs. Guyana has benefited in agriculture, in education, in food security, in governance, in health, in hinterland development, in aviation and maritime infrastructure and in sea defence and coastal zone management.
The EU remains also a valued developing partner in the Caribbean. The joint Caribbean-EU partnership strategy concluded in 2014 forms the basis for continued responsiveness to the development challenges and opportunities we face. Guyana, in this regard, welcomes the European Union’s assurances of dialogue and consultation with the Caribbean region on the issue of the EU’s implementation of its external strategy for effective taxation as part of its anti-tax avoidance package.
Excellency, Europe Day 2016 is a beacon to all nations. It shows the path to peace and sustained security. It indicates that this path begins with the deepening of the integration process and with the increasing emphasis on international cooperation.
Excellency, ladies and gentlemen please join me in a toast to the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission; to the prosperity of the people of Europe and to the continued good relations between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the European Union.
I thank you.