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Europe Day 2017

On 12 May 2017, Ambassadors, Members of the Diplomatic Corps Zimbabwe Government officials, Representatives of International Organizations and NGOs, the Corporate World and invited Zimbabwean citizens celebrated Europe Day at the Residence of the EU Head of Delegation at No. 3 Timber Close in the beautiful Chisipite Suburb in Harare.

In his keynote address to the guests, the Head of Delegation, His Excellency, Philippe Van Damme highlighted the successes and challenges of the EU in 2017 including, as he put it, the shocking and unexpected Brexit. He bemoaned losing the brotherly country UK but remained optimistic that though the trigger clause had been initiated he hoped intrinsic cooperation with this key country would remain strong. He highlighted that the European Union was focusing on the implementation of a number of reforms in a bid to shun high levels of unemployment to improve the living standards of the youth. The member states of the organisation have been working tirelessly and taking cognizance of  reforms in a number of sectors, most notably in the public administration, justice, electoral system, among others that are aimed at strengthening the fundamental freedoms and welfare of our society. Many joint programmes are still in the implementation stage and many are to be  implemented in the future.

He was also emphatic that Africa should invest in youth development programmes. He welcomed the AU theme: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth”. He added that in the near future 40% of the world youth would be coming from Africa. He lamented how African Governments including Zimbabwe were failing to harness this potential to economic growth.  He said that more should be done to create jobs, employment opportunities and involve young people in the political and economic arenas of Africa. He was quiet on why the EU had unanimously extended sanctions against Zimbabwe.

It is worthy to note that in his speech the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Edgar Mbwembwe stipulated that European Union should also consider lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe and other developing countries. He propounded that sanctions are a stumbling block to development and nation building.

After the victory over the Nazism in the Second World War, Europe has become a criteria of peace, solidarity and a hub of human growth and sustainable development anchored on universal values that are up to now serves as an example for many.

Happy Europe Day!