President David Granger: Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland; Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; ladies and gentlemen:
I am very happy to be here this evening to join the European Union at this event to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community also known as the Treaty of Rome.
The Treaty of Rome signed on March 25, 1957, by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and then West Germany was the cornerstone of the European Economic Community and later renamed the European Community and now, of course, the European Union.
The Treaty of Rome inaugurated a programme of economic integration, which allowed the European Union to become a formidable economic community. It accounts for 20 per cent of global exports and over 62 per cent of its trade is intra-regional.
The Treaty of Rome was inspired by the philosophy of promoting peace through economic integration. Two World Wars in the first half of the twentieth century as we have seen in the film, took a terrible toll on Europe. The scars of the Second World War were still visible in 1957, 12 years later.
The Treaty of Rome was signed by six states, which were encouraged by the experience of the European Coal and Steel Community signed six years earlier. They were convinced that peace and economic progress could be secured best through deeper economic integration.
The Treaty of Rome was part of the post-war era of economic integration, it preceded the establishment of the Latin American Free Trade Association in 1960; it preceded the establishment of the Central American Common Market in the same year and the Caribbean Free Trade Association in 1965, and of course the Caribbean Community in 1973.
Economic integration was increasing its impetus and its impact on other parts of the world- so Europe was not alone. The Treaty of Rome has bequeathed a legacy of sustained peace over the past 60 years. The vision of the Treaty’s architects has been vindicated.
The Caribbean today, like Europe 60 years ago, yearns for peace. The Caribbean seeks international peace, which is characterised by a dignified and secured life for our peoples. It seeks economic progress, which is undergirded by special consideration to the needs and vulnerability of Small Island developing and low-lying coastal states such as Guyana.
The Caribbean as part of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States- a group which had its origins right here in Georgetown entered into mutually beneficial preferential agreements with Europe. The Caribbean as party to successive LOME Conventions and signatories to the COTONOU Agreement looks forward to continuing to build on the successes of the ACP-EU relationships.
The Treaty of Rome exemplified Europe’s rejection of economic isolationism. The Cooperative Republic of Guyana (CRG) and the European Union enjoys excellent relations underpinned by mutual respect and cooperation for mutual benefit. The CRG remains committed and looks forward to strengthened cooperation with the EU.
Guyana congratulates the European Union and the people of Europe on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Had I glass of wine I would have asked you to join me in raising your glasses in a toast to the good relations between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the European Union and between the Caribbean Community and the EU.