MIL-OSI Translation: Speech by President Charles Michel during the “European Development Days”


MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Council of the European Union 2

It is a particular pleasure for me to be with you in person for these Development Days, which are an opportunity to come together to reflect together on how to engage in useful cooperation to help us progress on the path to stability, security and prosperity. This in-person meeting comes two years after the starting point of this COVID crisis. This crisis that has hit the world, this crisis that has shaken, jostled, upset us all; this crisis which has shown the weaknesses and flaws of international solidarity − and this crisis which has also shown a form of resilience and capacity for humanity to develop vaccines, for example in less than a year where usually five ten years were necessary. And which also showed for the European Union the central place it must occupy in terms of solidarity and commitment to the rest of the world. Of course, not everything has been perfect and this COVID crisis must lead us all to be modest and humble. But it showed our unwavering desire to export half of the doses of vaccines produced in Europe throughout the crisis. It also showed, and the President of the Commission mentioned it, this commitment with a certain number of countries, especially on the African continent, to develop vaccine production capacities in Africa to meet this demand on the continent. African. We have the same desire to develop such partnerships with other countries and other regions in the world. This meeting comes at a time when blood is once again flowing on the European continent. This meeting comes at a time when a country, and this is not a detail, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has decided to start a war from another century, an unjustifiable war, an unprovoked war, in flagrant violation of international law. No, this is not a special military operation. As we gather here in Brussels, the Ukrainian people are suffering under bombs and bullets. Murders are committed. Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war against women, girls and children. We cannot stand idly by, and that is the meaning of the European Union’s support for Ukraine. Political support, humanitarian support, military support as well. And this is the meaning of the sanctions decided to try to stop the financing of the Kremlin war machine. I want to be extremely clear because this war started by the Kremlin is also an opportunity for some to develop false information, to develop propaganda. The sanctions from the European Union and our allies are strictly targeted and in no way target foodstuffs or fertilizers. On the contrary, it is the European Union which has been fully mobilized since day one to try to contribute with the partners to resolving the serious risk of a food security crisis which is in the process of arising, a crisis which could occur if extremely voluntary actions on this subject. How? On the one hand, the European Union is working to develop alternative routes to allow agricultural products, grains blocked in Ukraine, to be able to leave Ukraine. I was personally a few weeks ago in the port of Odessa. I was able to see with my own eyes, in the boats, in the silos, the 22 million tonnes of Ukrainian wheat that is supposed to go to the countries of northern Africa, to West Africa, also blocked , not by European sanctions, but blocked by warships that prevent shipping in the Black Sea. Blocked because Russia has decided that this Black Sea is a war zone. Also blocked because the wheat fields in Ukraine have become battlefields, because there is this decision by the Kremlin to start this war against Ukraine. Mobilized too, we are, to strongly support the commitment of Secretary-General Guterres and the United Nations to try to find an agreement in order to unlock secure maritime corridors across the Black Sea and ensure that the we can take up this challenge together. Mobilized, we are also mobilized with this French initiative that we are carrying out to support, with the African Union and with our partners, this need to commit to supporting production efforts in Africa and to adapt trade measures that should be in order to facilitate access not only to agricultural products, but also to fertilizers. Mobilized, we are also mobilized with the G7. We will be meeting in Germany in a few days, next week, and the Union will play its full part in ensuring that we take seriously this severe crisis which is already present in a number of countries and which threatens us collectively for the next few months and maybe even for the next few years. Finally, I would like to take this moment with you – briefly, because I know the list of speakers is long – to share three messages, three simple messages, with solemnity, on behalf of the European Union. The first message concerns the European Union, the DNA of this atypical political project born in the aftermath of two world wars which shed blood on the European continent. In the aftermath of this century marked by these tragedies, there was this vision, this light of political leaders who had the courage − they are the founding fathers of Europe − to come together around the same table. The very people who represented the nations that had torn each other so much, that had brutalized each other so much in the past century, gathered around the same table to build a project of peace, prosperity and stability. Peace, prosperity and stability, one goes with the other. And that is why my first message is the following: Europe will always be the partner for development, the partner for progress, the partner for peace and stability. It is therefore no coincidence that 46% of global development aid originates in the European Union; almost 70 billion mobilized each year to finance more peace, more prosperity and more development. My second message: at a time when blood is flowing on Ukrainian soil, let us not make the collective error of being deaf or to be blind. There are other tragedies in the world right now. There are other crises in the world. I think of the women and girls in Afghanistan who find it difficult today to attend classes and attend schools. I am also thinking of the humanitarian dramas linked to the consequences of the situation in Afghanistan. I am also thinking of the situation in the Horn of Africa and the tragedies that are affecting a certain number of men and women who are very direct victims of this unleashing of hatred, sometimes even hatred with an ethnic dimension. I am also thinking of our friends in West Africa, in the Sahel, who have been mobilized for so many years to fight terrorism which threatens the dignity of populations. And I think of so many other places in the world, on all continents where the madness of men, where instability, where insecurity, bring misery, sadness and pain. The European Union does not forget: we have our eyes open, our ears connected to the world and we also wish to remain a committed player in humanitarian support, a committed player in political support, particularly in multilateral forums, to always favor the ability to resolve disputes and conflicts through dialogue. Finally, the third message that I would like to share with you is a very, very strong conviction, emanating from someone, yours truly, who had the opportunity, several years ago, to assume responsibilities in development as Minister for International Cooperation in Belgium. My conviction is that we must now change our software. We must now change the paradigm and we must now have more of a culture of evaluation, see clearly what is going well and be able to deepen, accentuate the methods that lead to success, but also be able to correct when we go realize that the recipes of the past do not work or at least do not work up to our expectations. Changing software means first changing the software in our heads and in our hearts. It is this belief that equal partnership cannot be just a word or a piece of language. It must be a partnership of equals marked by sincerity, based on mutual interest and also based on our common perception that the world is changing before our eyes. Climate change is shaking all our bearings. We are well aware that it is no longer possible to use and abuse natural resources to the extreme, because we can clearly see that we are at the end of this model and that this has consequences. What was once considered waste is now a resource: this is the development of the circular economy. In the same spirit, the digital transformation is upsetting us and we are measuring that before our eyes, the oil of tomorrow is probably digital data. It will be important for us, collectively, not to make the mistakes made in the climate change arena by not torturing personal data and by finding the way through shared values ​​to enable both innovation, development , and progress through digital transformation and digital resources. But at the same time, having this vigilance for the dignity of individuals, privacy, fundamental rights, freedoms, to build this common model, from which we can try to progress together. The new paradigm is of course the meaning of Global Gateway is to focus on sustainable infrastructure, infrastructure that strengthens resilience. This new paradigm means trusting the private sector and developing new financial instruments. That was the meaning of this summit, a few months ago in Brussels, between the African Union and the European Union. We have been able to draw the outlines of a different, ambitious, new, realistic approach as well, and it will not only be up to us to agree on a common and generous declaration, but also to implement it and develop this culture of Regular evaluation to ensure that words are followed by tangible effects felt by our citizens and by our populations everywhere. This new paradigm is also the meaning of the European Union’s commitment to continue working on the restructuring of the debts that burden African countries, which limit and narrow the room for maneuver. This is also the meaning of our ambition to be engaged with the International Monetary Fund to ensure that we can further reallocate special drawing rights; and beyond the progress that has been made, there are certainly still, from my point of view, on this subject, additional steps that will be necessary. I had promised to be brief, I will stick to this promise and I come to the conclusion with this thought that I want to share with you. It is that of a man full of wisdom and whose life marked humanity: Desmond Tutu, who indicated with the right words that “the only way to be safe is to be together”. He added that “the only way, at the end of the day, to have prosperity is to be together”. And finally, to be human is to belong to this same family, it is to be together, it is to take care of each other. Taking care of each other is really my wish as we launch Development Days. Let us mobilize our collective intelligence to build together, with respect – respecting our histories, respecting our traditions – but also with a common desire to build a fairer, more solid and more prosperous world. Thank you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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