Guyana’s partnership with EU to continue growing stronger – President Ali

as EU celebrates Europe Day

Guyana’s longstanding relationship with the European Union (EU) is only expected to grow stronger over the years, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has affirmed.

He made the statement as the European Union in Guyana celebrated its annual Europe Day celebrations at the Georgetown Club on Tuesday evening.

President Ali assured that Guyana tremendously values its relationship with its allies, especially those like the EU, that share common values, such as democracy, freedom, and the upliftment of people.

More importantly, he noted that government is cognisant of those who supported the country’s development during difficult circumstances.

“The European Union, as the ambassador said, has invested tremendously in Guyana; building our infrastructure, securing our sea defences,” the president recalled.

He noted that the EU’s support on sea defence projects was particularly important not only for securing the land from the ocean, but for the agricultural sector in sustaining food production by ensuring the protection of farmers and their crops.

The EU was also a key part of Guyana’s budget support programme.

He said Guyana was able to develop into a country that is sustainable and resilient, one that is ‘leapfrogging’ into the future with great pride, and a great degree of global presence.

“At the [recent] Commonwealth leaders’ summit, many leaders… engaged me on our LCDS, and asked key questions on how we were able, in such a short time, to relaunch this strategy and get the level of success that we got out of the strategy. And the key question was, how can we help? And this is important for us as a people. The question was not [about] how they can help, but how can Guyana help to fashion a global strategy to put forests at the centre of COP28 so that everyone can understand the true value and importance of the forest in this fight on climate change,” Dr Ali expressed.

This, the President noted, is testament to the strong relationship that exists between the EU and Guyana, as well as the other development partners.

He further explained that the EU is working closely with Guyana on multiple initiatives to mitigate climate change and boost sustainable development.

“I am very confident that the relationship that will develop will continue to advance. It will get stronger, but more importantly, it is moving beyond government-to-government partnership. We are seeing more people-to-people partnership. We are seeing the private sector in the EU being more active here in Guyana, and we want the local private sector to become more active in the EU, because there are tremendous opportunities in the UK and in the European Union for Guyanese and Guyanese products in our local private sector.

“I will say to our local private sector that there is enormous opportunity for you, to look beyond the borders and find strategic partnership. To look at strategic partnership not only in the oil and gas sector,” Dr Ali emphasised.

EU states and Guyana continue to collaborate on issues of food security, agricultural investment, climate and environmental services, health, education, and technology.

“Our relationship is an expanding one, and… we need to think beyond the normal…. We must ensure that we are preparing ourselves to be sustainable, resilient, and competitive in the new world 2030 and beyond. And we see the European Union as an important partner in bridging this technology,” President Ali underscored.

He noted that Guyana will work with the EU ambassador to Guyana to ensure that all requirements are met to guarantee the ease of conducting trade.

“We must work on tangible things, tangible targets; things that are measurable… As we continue, Guyana values its relations with the EU. These relations have definitely supported Guyana’s national development, and the EU has provided tangible support to Guyana…. Let us now move this relationship forward as we expand the relationship between the two private sectors, and the people-to-people contact relationships. That is most critical. It is when people become integrated with each other that the fullness of the relationship can be felt and understood,” Dr Ali said.

Europe Day is an annual celebration held on May 9 to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Schuman Declaration on May 9, 1950.

The Schuman Declaration allowed for the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to pool resources from multiple countries under a common authority.

The aim of the declaration was to promote economic cooperation among European countries and prevent another war in Europe. This was the first step towards the creation of the European Union.